Kiwi in group attacked by bandits in Papua New Guinea

By Heather McCracken, Matthew Backhouse

None of the group's injuries were life threatening. Photo / File / Thinkstock
None of the group's injuries were life threatening. Photo / File / Thinkstock

A New Zealander injured in an attack on a group of trekkers in Papua New Guinea is comfortable and on his way back to the country's capital.

The man in his 50s, a resident of Australia, was among a group of Australian trekkers and local porters who were attacked at a remote village in the country's northern Morobe province yesterday.

Two PNG porters reportedly died when bandits attacked the group at Banis-Donki, about 200km north of Port Moresby, armed with knives and machetes.

PNG Trekking Adventures boss Mark Hitchcock, whose company organised the trek, confirmed the New Zealand citizen was a resident of Australia, aged in his 50s.

He would not go into further details about the man.

The New Zealander and the other trekkers, all men, were now off the track and in transit to Port Moresby.

"Their injuries not life-threatening. They're comfortable and they're good to travel."

Mr Hitchcock said the group was on the first day of a six-day trek on on the Black Cat track when they came under attack.

The trekkers had established a camp for the night at the village when they were attacked.

"They were held up and all their possessions were stolen."

Mr Hitchcock would not comment on the nature of the injuries the men suffered, but said: "It was nothing major or life threatening."

He said his company had arranged for locals, medics and security officials to meet the trekkers as they walked back from the village.

"As soon as we heard of the incident and were able to have phone contact with them, we mobilised assistance," he said.

"It was quite a remote location. It was three hours from when we were first notified until our group met them on the track ... they met them over half way up to the village."

Mr Hitchcock said the incident was rare and local people were "deeply shocked" by what had happened.

"It's an isolated incident. We've been residents in Papua New Guinea for the 23 years, we've been running our trekking five or 10 years and this is the first incident that we've had.

"It's a great tourist destination and it's just unfortunate."

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) spokesman said the injured New Zealander was reported to be in a stable condition and their next of kin has been informed of the incident.

The New Zealand High Commission in Port Moresby would be extending consular assistance to the New Zealander once they arrived back in Port Moresby.

The Australian department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has reported two PNG nationals were killed in the attack.

The 61km Black Cat track, which runs from the Wau area to Salamaua in northern PNG, takes several days and is dotted with wartime wrecks.

It is recommended only for very fit and experienced trekkers.

MFAT's current travel advice for PNG states there is some risk due to violent crime and civil unrest, and advises caution.

You can read New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs travel advice for PNG here.

- APNZ

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