Crime Stoppers

Angurugu Deaths Operation Benta Police Appeal for Witnesses

Saturday 07-Nov-2015 12:54

Northern Territory Police confirm that two males aged 19 and 29 are now deceased as a result of a spear fight in the township of Angurugu on Groote Eylandt yesterday (Friday, 6 November) afternoon.

Police have established that yesterday’s tragic events were the culmination of a family feud that started on Thursday when two females had an altercation in Angurugu.

Commander Tony Fuller said a male relative intervened in that fight and as a result a female was conveyed to the local clinic after being knocked unconscious. She was later released without any serious injuries.

“On Friday another male relative has driven from Umbakumba Community to Angurugu to find out what had occurred the previous day.

“On entering the community three males threw rocks at his vehicle causing him to crash into a fence. This male exited his vehicle with some weapons and began searching for the three males who fled from the area.”

Police were called and attended however the male driver did not want to make a complaint about the matter.

“Shortly after this incident the three males returned with weapons and began arguing with the male driver.

“Additional Police attended however a large crowd started to gather carrying a variety of weapons including spears. Police attempted to disperse the crowd but were forced to retreat due to the overwhelming numbers of armed persons who had gathered at each end of the street brandishing spears at each other. One of the group has thrown a spear which has in turn led to an exchange of spears between the two groups.

“Police observed one of the deceased males being struck and rendered first aid immediately, evacuating him to the local clinic where he passed away.

“Police also located two more injured persons and evacuated them directly to the clinic. Unfortunately, one of the males subsequently passed away as well,” Commander Fuller added.

TRG and Dog Squad members were deployed from Darwin last night to assist along with five detectives from Major Crime.

This morning (Saturday, 7 November) seven additional members from Katherine have arrived on the island to provide support.

There was no further unrest overnight.

An assessment is being conducted this afternoon on what further resources are needed.

The matter has been declared a Major Crime and is named Operation Benta.

Police praise the actions of the emergency service personnel who attended this tragic event. Commander Fuller said: “In particular, Police recognise the selfless actions of the local health staff who tried desperately to save the lives of the two men under very stressful conditions.

“There were also a number of community members who tried to quell the violence in the first instance, some of whom put themselves in between the two groups. “

Police are urging any persons involved in the disturbance to come forward and identify themselves to the local Police

Police also urge anyone in the community thinking of taking any form of revenge attack to stop and think about the consequences that have already occurred over what was essentially a minor altercation.

Police will continue to work with the community to avert any further violence.