Dozens of people have died in a tribal dispute in Papua New Guinea’s remote Highlands region, authorities say.

The victims were shot dead during an ambush in the Enga province over the weekend, a national police spokesman told the BBC.

The Highlands area has long struggled with violence, but these killings are believed to be the worst in years.

An influx of illegal firearms have made clashes more deadly and fuelled a cycle of violence.

Authorities initially said at least 64 people have died. But later reports said they had miscounted and revised the toll down to 26.

Police started collecting bodies at the scene near the town of Wabag – roughly 600km northwest of the capital Port Moresby.

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