Porgera in Enga is in disarray following the killing of six people on Wednesday night, forcing the closure of schools and businesses as the “guerilla warfare” continues.
Porgera gold mine Lease for Mining Purpose Landowner Association chairman Timothy Andambo said it was more like an ethnic cleansing than a tribal war.
“The situation is escalating into the Paiam mine town and Porgera station,” he said.
“And not long, it will go into the Porgera Joint Venture area where mine workers live.
“We have received threats from Facebook and text messages to hang us if we do not resolve the fight.”
“But how can we go in and resolve it when these men are trying to kill us?
“They have already slaughtered community leaders, women and children.
“We are in fear of our lives.”
Efforts to get comments from provincial police commander acting Supt George Kakas were unsuccessful.
Shops, markets, schools and banks in the area have closed.
“Bank of South Pacific employees left in fear of their lives,” Andambo said.
Andambo urged the Government to immediately declare a State of Emergency in the province, giving power to the police and Defence Force to end the “inhumane violence”.
He said the fight started four years ago between the two groups over a Digicel network grid tower, and now had spread all over the district. LMP association deputy chairman Joe Kuala said the safety of the people and the mine were a concern.
“The mine is our only bread and butter. Before the Government can restart the mine, it must address the issue on the ground,” he said.
“Porgera is unsettled. Thursday, women and young men walked from one end of the town to the other, calling for the violence to end.”
He said it had become a national issue, and not just for the community leaders to resolve. Kuala said the two opposing groups are moving into the town.