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SYDNEY, New South Wales (AFP) – A group of Australian and New Zealand trekkers have been attacked in Papua New Guinea with two of their guides hacked to death and others injured, government officials said on Wednesday.
The deadly incident happened on Tuesday along the Black Cat Track in the lawless Pacific nation's northern Morobe province.
"The attack resulted in the deaths of two PNG nationals who were porters for the group," Australia's department of foreign affairs (DFAT) said.
"Other members of the group, including eight Australians, one New Zealander and a number of PNG nationals, sustained injuries during the attack, however none of the injuries are life threatening."
Reports said the porters were hacked to death and the attackers may have been using machetes, spears and guns. It was not clear what sparked the assault.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation said workers at a local mining company helped the injured trekkers walk to a medical clinic at their nearby camp.
"The Australian High Commission in Port Moresby has provided consular support and will meet with the group when they return to Port Moresby," DFAT said.
"We recommend that trekkers avoid the Black Cat Track until local police have investigated this incident."
The Black Cat Track runs between Wau and Salamaua in northern PNG.
It was the scene of bitter fighting between Australian and US troops against Japanese forces in 1943 and is regarded as one of the most challenging treks in the wild and mountainous country.