The Australian government has confirmed the attack on a group of Australian trekkers in Papua New Guinea. Initial reports said the guides of the trekkers have been hacked to death.
The trekkers were following the Black Cat track when a group of men armed with machetes and bush knives attacked them. Two Papua New Guinean guides were hacked to death and died instantly. The Black Cat track is located in the Morobe province of Papua New Guinea.
The Australian trekkers sustained injuries from the attack, along with one companion from New Zealand. PNG nationals who were also trekking with the group were also injured during the brutal attack. The group survived the attack since their injuries were not life threatening.
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said the Australian High Commission has been made aware of the attack, involving a group of trekkers on the Black Cat track.
The Foreign Affairs department has sent its deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the two Papua New Guinean porters who were killed in the incident.
Authorities said the trekking company has already made the necessary arrangements for the group of Australian, Kiwi and PNG trekkers. The Australian High Commission is scheduled to meet with the victims of attack once they have returned to Port Moresby.
The Department of Foreign Affairs in Australia has warned trekkers to avoid going to the Black Cat track. The trail goes through the Salamaua village along the Huon Gulf coast. The Black Cat track is a popular overland track in Morobe province. It is 220 kilometres north of Port Moresby.
The track was first used by gold prospectors in the 1920s and 30s to hunt for gold in Wau.
The Australian trekkers and their companions traveled from port Salamaua. They planned to go on a treacherous hike for three to four days in Black Cat track. The area is said to be infested with leeches. Other trekking groups described Black Cat as an appropriate trail only for "masochists and Israeli Paratroopers."
Papua New Guinea's Black Cat track is not usually a tourist attraction since its PNG visitors rarely frequent the track.
Historically, the track was the site of a bitter battle of U.S. and Australian forces against Japanese troops in 1943. The Black Cat track is regarded as one of the most dangerous trails in Papua New Guinea.
The investigation still continues on the attack of Australian trekkers. The Foreign Affairs department is encouraging those with information or offers for help toward the victims to contact the department.
To contact the editor, e-mail: