SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: April 25, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Kokopo Business College

Region & Country:Oceania | Papua New Guinea

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On April 25, 2022, armed individuals from the nearby village of Ulagunan reportedly attacked students at Kokopo Business College in Kokopo, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea. At least five students were injured, and three of the attackers were killed.  

The incident followed clashes between villagers from Ulagunan and individuals from the Western Highlands province, after a Western Highlander was killed by a group of individuals from Ulagunan. According to reports, during the course of the clashes, a group of Ulagunan villagers entered the Kokopo Business College campus armed with weapons including sticks, knives, and homemade guns, proceeded into dorms, and began confronting students and demanding laptops, phones and other items. This set off clashes, leading to the deaths of three of the Ulagunan villagers, and hospitalization of five students. 

Scholars at Risk is concerned about violent attacks against students on campus. State authorities should take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of scholars, students, and staff, including by investigating and holding perpetrators accountable, in line with international human rights standards. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, violence on campus undermines the conditions needed for the meaningful exercise of the right to education and academic freedom. 


*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)