Fifty-three dead in Papua New Guinea tribal violence  

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - PORT MORESBY, Feb 19 — Papua New Guinea police said 53 people have been killed in tribal violence in the country’s volatile highlands, the latest in a string of mass deaths linked to long-running feuds.

Police Commissioner David Manning yesterday said that officers and soldiers had retrieved the bodies of 53 men.

They are believed to have been killed near the town of Wabag, 600 kilometres northwest of the capital Port Moresby.

The exact circumstances of the deaths were not immediately clear, but police said there had been reports of heavy gunfire.

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The incident is thought to be linked to a conflict between Sikin and Kaekin tribesmen.

Highland clans have fought each other in Papua New Guinea for centuries, but an influx of automatic weapons has made clashes more deadly and escalated the cycle of violence.

Police received videos and photos purporting to be from the scene. They showed bloodied and badly wounded bodies lying by the side of the road, and piled up on the back of a flatbed truck. — AFP

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