"I'VE seen the butchery. Up close and personal. I've got no illusions as to what a three-foot long bush knife can do to a human skull.
Medic Napo Pei, of Wau district hospital, in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea, points out three machete blows to the head. Another blow to the back that all but disembowelled the victim.
This was the first victim of a deadly PNG-style payback rampage. Up to 6000 tribesman in the hills baying for blood.
Young warriors had armed themselves with bush knives, swords, axes, bow and arrow made out of black palm, .303 rifles, shotguns and homemade slingshots using bolts as ammunition.
In the Kruper mountain ranges above us, war cries, wailing and black magic echo down the deep valleys.
We had just come from a Haus Krai (a traditional mourning ceremony) in the tiny village where chief porter Kerry Rarobu, who was one of three killed in the Black Cat Track massacre on September 10, owned a house and store.
Sad eyes of his orphans still haunt me.
Mourners at the village of murdered porter Kerry Rarobu. Photo by Luke Marsden.
Faces painted in mud-and-ash of a traditional death mask, the dark eyes are windows to lost souls. Purple lips quiver, hot liquid dribbles from eyes and nose. Nobody to wipe it away.
This hamlet felt like the village of the damned. Grey ghosts streamed out of the forest, zombie-like faces, painted in the ochre of the earth.
Women and children make a final farewell. Men plan for revenge.
Rule of the jungle reigns supreme. It is an eye for an eye. Jungle justice to be dealt at the end of knife and axe.
"I will catch them. And I will kill them,'' says brigand leader Wano Raroru, eldest brother of the slain chief. "I will cut them down like bush pigs."
In one fell swoop, the Black Cat Track bandits laid waste to the nation's lucrative trekking tourism industry...."