Tribal Clash in Papua New Guinea | God's World News

Tribal Clash in Papua New Guinea

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    Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, right, greets Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape, left, in Canberra, Australia, on February 8, 2024. (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image via AP)
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    People gather at a closed shopping center in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, on January 10, 2024. A looter climbs, top left, in an attempt to break in. The unrest began after hundreds of public servants left jobs in protest over a pay dispute. (Tarami Legei/Post Courier via AP)
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    A man points out damage after looters tore through a shopping center on January 10 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. (Gorethy Kenneth/Post Courier via AP)
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    A shopping center in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, is in ruins after rioting and looting on January 10. (Jonathan Warrey/Post Courier via AP)
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    Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea James Marape addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 22, 2022, at UN headquarters. (AP/Julia Nikhinson)
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A tribal clash on Sunday in Papua New Guinea highlights a growing internal security problem. The United States and China offer to help. Given Papua New Guinea’s strategic locale, both world powers want influence in the region.

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is the second most populous South Pacific island nation. Only Australia has more people. The United Nations estimates PNG has as many as 17 million citizens.

The country is extremely diverse with more than 300 tribes and 800 languages.

PNG is also rich in natural resources like gold, copper, and oil. People often fight over these resources. They raise questions about who should get how much of the wealth.

Many tribes steeped in pagan tradition also find triggers outside of natural resources for conflict. These include charges of sorcery after sudden deaths (such as in car wrecks) and revenge killings for victims of previous tribal conflicts.

Now an influx of illegal modern firearms and increased use of paid sharpshooters make clashes even more deadly.

On January 10, rioting and looting in the capital of Port Moresby and in Lae, the nation’s second most populous city, made international headlines. At least 16 people died.

Last weekend, tribal battle broke out in gold-rich Enga province. At least 26 people lost their lives.

The growing unrest garners global attention—and contributes to rivalry between the United States and China.

In 2022, China signed a security pact with the nearby Solomons Islands. That deal raised concerns that China might establish a permanent naval foothold in the South Pacific.

The United States and regional ally Australia began building bridges with PNG and its island neighbors. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited PNG last year. He signed a new security pact with the country. The deal allows activities such as defense policy coordination, joint military exercises, and building of infrastructure for U.S. military and civilian use at PNG seaports and airports. A maritime agreement allows the U.S. Coast Guard to partner with the Pacific nation to counter illegal fishing and drug smuggling.

In December, Australian and Papuan prime ministers signed a pact. The Aussie government offered to address PNG’s security concerns. Officials promised to increase PNG’s police force and support the court and prison systems.

After these meetings, Papua New Guinea declared the United States and Australia were its preferred security partners. China would remain an economic partner.

However, PNG’s Foreign Minister revealed a new plan last month. He says his government had begun talks with China about policing assistance after the January 10 riots. This may mean the United States and Australia aren’t so “preferred” anymore.

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? — James 4:1