Eleven killed in PNG ExxonMobil dispute
Eleven Papua New Guineans have been fatally shot amid a dispute over profits from a pipeline carrying liquid natural gas (LNG) from an ExxonMobil site in PNG’s Southern Highlands to Port Moresby, local media reports.
A gang of villagers from Erave district, in the Southern Highlands, attacked their neighbouring clan with high-powered guns in an early morning raid over the weekend.
Women and children fled as homes were torched and property destroyed in the attack, which killed 11 people, PNG’s Post Courier newspaper reports.
The raid is believed to be retaliation for a previous killing that happened in the lead-up to LNG benefit-sharing negotiations last December.
Thousands of landowners from a variety of groups are set to profit from an $16 billion LNG project that from 2014 will pump gas from the Southern Highlands to the capital Port Moresby 600km away, before shipping it to mainly Asian buyers for a predicted 30 years.
The landowners affected by the pipeline spent weeks cutting a deal with the PNG government, but tensions remain as some landowners believe they missed out or were excluded from the talks.
PNG’s Highlands region is notorious for tribal conflicts and payback attacks for a variety of reasons from land disputes to pig distribution.
The conflicts are often tied to ongoing fights dating back decades.
Comment was being sought from ExxonMobil.