According to AOL, Matt Scheurich, a 28-year-old New Zealander and his French girlfriend were attacked last month by a group of Papua New Guinean tribesman after taking a dip in the river. While wandering through the forest, the tribe followed the foreign couple and eventually shot them with arrows and pelted them with rocks.
Scheurich was struck in the chest and stomach by arrows. As the tribe attacked Scheurich they attempted to molest his girlfriend. Both Scheurich and his girlfriend got away unscathed but the attack on the couple has brought attention to the possible risks of traveling off the path.
According to the Associated Press, Scheurich lost a significant amount of blood resulting from the incident. The woman suffered from minor injuries to her hand and arms as well as scrapes to her legs. Scheurich’s girlfriend is a French doctoral student studying tribal life, and it seems the couple definitely got a taste of tribal life during this trip.
Tours through the villages of Papua New Guinea have recently become more popular as a unique opportunity to look inside a world unknown to most of the world. However, stepping into a culture where violence is a major theme can be a great risk for foreigners.
PNG’s terrain is very dangerous and as a result many villages located nearby one another have entirely different languages and customs. A rite of passage ceremony, conducted by most of the tribes today is headhunting. Young men are not considered a man until they have killed an enemy in battle and beheaded him.
Exploring the world and enriching oneself in other cultures has become increasingly popular lately however it is important to keep in mind that contact with strangers can be incredibly dangerous, especially when it comes to tribes that know little about the outside world.
The U.S. State Department recommends that visitors take proper precautions and preparations before traveling to the highlands.