PNG Attack: Australian Trekkers' Attackers to Face Death Penalty Says PNG PM O'Neill (VIDEO)
By Reissa Su | September 12, 2013 3:20 PM EST
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has vowed to let attackers of the Kiwi and Australian trekkers to face the death penalty. He condemned the PNG attack using knives and machetes in which two local guides were hacked to death.
Mr O'Neill said the PNG attacks were "appalling crimes" and the attackers has brought down the punishment of death upon them. The death penalty law was passed by Parliament since the last election in PNG. The Australian trekkers who were injured from the attack are scheduled to be returning home. One New Zealander, eight Australians and some local guides were attacked while walking along the Black Cat track, a treacherous trail in the PNG jungle.
According to the survivors, six men attacked them and were armed with guns, machetes and butcher knives. Authorities believed the men had escaped from prison while some were members of a rival tribe. Papua New Guinea police are working on leads to track the suspect as the PNG Prime Minister announced he wanted the men to face the death penalty.
The Kiwi and Australian trekkers were attacked on Sept. 10 while walking along the trail with local porters. One of the Australian trekkers was speared in the leg while another trekker was hit by a machete on his head. Ten other locals were declared in critical condition after they were slashed and beaten.
Survivors of the attack said the attackers left the scene and went deeper into the jungle after stealing their mobile phones, passports and other valuables. Christiana King, an Australian nurse, was able to lead the group back to the Wau village after 4 hours of walking. Ms King was familiar with the area for she has lived with her husband and children in Papua New Guinea for two years.
Ms King and the other survivors of the trekkers group immediately sought help and reported the incident. The injured men were taken away from the jungle to be treated. The bodies of two dead porters were also retrieved.
Peter Stevens, one of the Australian trekkers, who was injured had sustained leg injuries. He said the PNG attackers went for the porters' group and began "hacking and slashing." It was not yet clear what the motive was for the attack but authorities' report indicate a rivalry between tribes in the village could have spurred it.
Australia has already issued a warning for travelers to avoid the Black Cat track.
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