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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

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Hundreds Of PNG Students Allegedly Involved In Brawl
Schools, police uncertain as to what caused huge fight

By Armstrong Saiyama

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Feb. 26, 2013) – Hundreds of students from two major Catholic schools in Papua New Guinea's capital clashed yesterday, using weapons that included iron rods, metal, sharp objects, stones and sticks.

No serious injuries were reported from the two brawls that happened at the Unagi Oval and Manu Autoport market yesterday morning.

A witness estimated that more than 400 students from Don Bosco Technical and De La Salle Secondary schools were involved in the Unagi Oval brawl during which weapons were used.

Police and the principal of one of the two schools confirmed the incidents. They did not know what had sparked the clashes.

At the Unagi Oval at Gordon, witness Alex Kay said the students used stones, sticks, metal, iron and other sharp objects in the brawl.

He said the De La Salle boys were heavily outnumbered by their rivals from Don Bosco.

"I saw more than 300 Don Bosco boys fighting against the 60-odd Del La Salle boys," he said. Police came and chased the students away. The students threw stones and sticks at each other.

"(Some were) equipped with sharp objects and chasing each other. There was a Don Bosco student with a big cut on his head. I also saw other students with minor bruises on their hands and legs," Kay said.

He said traffic on Kennedy Road near the oval was disrupted when the fight spilled onto the road.

At one point, some students from one school tried to stop a PMV bus in the middle of the road to check if there were students from the other school inside. However, the driver did not stop.

Students from other schools were also seen involved in the brawl but police could not confirm this as many of the boys were not in school uniforms.

National Capital District metropolitan commander Supt. Andy Bawa said police were investigating the two incidents.

"Our officers dispersed what could have been a big fight.

"We have got station commanders of Badili and Gordon to liaise with the two school principals," Bawa said. "Police are yet to establish the reasons behind the fights."

Bawa said police would not tolerate fights between students in Port Moresby.

"We have just started the school year. Students should focus on their school work," he said. I am calling on teachers, parents and guardians to discourage their children from joining such activities."

Don Bosco principal Fr. Charles Casper confirmed that there was an inter-school fight yesterday. "At the moment, I cannot make any comments. We are still investigating the reasons for this fight," he said.

The De La Salle principal could not be contacted.

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