Former Enga province deputy administrator Ken Nakisi says many of those wounded in the attack are likely to die because of a lack of medical facilities in the remote district. He says local people believe the attack was carried out using a grenade, but that's not been confirmed by police, a hundred of whom have now been sent to the area.
Presenter: Bruce Hill
Ken Nakisi, a leader in the Kagua/Erave electorate of PNG's Southern Highlands.
NAKISI: I'm actually on my way to the Post-Courier right now, armed with witness statements representing the people of Kagua/Erave, the electorate which … due to the disaster that is … I really do not know how a weapon of mass destruction that has got into the hands of some tribal warriors or clans for that matter. The people have actually been meeting the so-called … earlier and basically there's been an ongoing conflict between two tribes; mainly the Kambia and Wambe.
HILL: Do we know exactly what kind of weapons were used? Did anyone see the weapons, was it a hand grenade or was it petrol bombs? Do we know this yet?
NAKISI: From reports I've just received it's not a petrol bomb.
HILL: What medical treatment can they get or can they be evacuated to Mount Hagen for treatment?
NAKISI: They can be evacuated. We have … another 20 kilometres down there, down the … but we're really have a leadership issue here Bruce, it's a serious problem here.
HILL: The Southern Highlands Police Commander says he's down there now with 100 police in the area. Is that going to make people a bit happier?
NAKISI: Yes, yes, look at it this way, I'm in the houses … and here's a water truck, what are you going to save with houses already burned down? The people are already dead, what are they going to do? This is not one, this is not two, we're talking about 34 human lives and it's not only men, but includes women and children. This is preventable, this is unnecessary, as a leader of Kagua/Erave I'm saying that, this is unnecessary, totally unnecessary.
HILL: You're a leader in this area, what are the people there telling you about how they feel about what's happened and what they want done about it?
NAKISI: The people are saying that the MP for Kagua/Erave who is … because the same kind of leadership in parliament we need only two cases of … was used; one is in the MPs … talking to people who … in 2009. And this is the second time the people … the people, … was said, it's the first of its kind in this country, and it happened in this electorate. And the MP who got into office in 2007 could not do anything to prevent that, could not even put money into police force have staff for stations in Kagua/Erave so that the carrying of firearms and the smuggling of firearms and the … and all that should not have been … and should be checked. I thought they turned a blind eye and I was quietly saying the leaders, even the government itself … Kagua/Erave is … the … and I'm going to the … I'm going on the national television. I'm saying that what you guys are doing is sorry too late, far too late.
HILL: We've had reports that there were 14 casualties or there were 34 casualties. Has anyone counted the number of dead and wounded?
NAKISI: They've confirmed it was actually 30, and then two died after that, so it went up to 32, that's what the people of … tell me with wound and all that … and they actually said that it was a bomb. So a bomb, these are village people, so a bomb was … or some dynamite. If it's one of those two, but we … that this is a hand grenade.