A confrontation started between Balob Teachers College students and Butibam villagers yesterday at around 10pm.
Fighting continued this morning, where traffic was disrupted and classes were suspended.
Chief superintendent Kunyanban addressed Balob staff and students this morning on campus before moving over to Butibam village.
He made sure to get an assurance from the leaders of both parties that no more stones or weapons will be thrown over the fence bordering the village and school premises.
“Yumi gat ol planti pressing issues nau em stap,” he said. (We already have a lot of pressing issues.)
“Bikpla tru em yupla save, em COVID-19. Now as I speak, tripla ol polisman blo mipla lo Hagen ol dai lo COVID. (The core issue that we are aware of is COVID-19. Now as I speak, three of our policemen in Mt Hagen have died because of COVID.)
“Yumi nid lo painim way around lo solvim sampla problem so wanpla o tupla liklik tasol i stap bai isi lo mipla handolim. (We need to find ways to solve this problem.)
“If yumi pulim, pulim hevi nau, mi ken honestly tokim yupla olsem, ol klousim daun operation lo ANGAU. Yupla kisim hevi bai yupla go lo weh? (If we continue with this, I can honestly tell you that ANGAU has scaled down operations. If you need medical assistance, where will you go?)
“So yumi gat ol pressing issues, plis mi no laikim yumi mekim na bai bagarapim yumi yet lo kominiti gen.” (So we have pressing issues at hand hence I want us to find a way forward. Delaying it will only affect us in our community.)
(Police and Butibam leaders speaking with villagers this morning)