Crossbows fired in violent NT unrest

·2-min read

Feuding residents in a remote Northern Territory Indigenous community have fired crossbows at each other as violent clashes between rival groups roll on, police say.

Social media images reportedly from the community, 400km southwest of Darwin, show a number of injured men impaled by arrows and bolts in their legs and arms.

"The situation in Wadeye is complex and police work tirelessly to support the community in remaining calm," NT Police Superintendent Kirk Pennuto said on Wednesday after the images were widely shared.

"Makeshift weapons along with crossbows have reportedly been used with a small number of individuals requiring treatment at the clinic for non-life-threatening injuries over the past two months."

Historic tensions has allegedly caused the unrest in the community formerly known as Port Keats, which was established as a Catholic mission in 1935.

The most recent flare up escalated in April when a man died after he was reportedly speared in the head.

Since then the fighting between armed groups of up to 300 people has left dozens injured and more than 500 people displaced after they fled.

About a quarter of the homes in the community of about 3000 have also been damaged or destroyed in the violence, many by fire.

Wadeye is one of the largest Aboriginal communities in the NT and home to 22 clans and seven language groups.

It's also situated in one of the most disadvantaged regions in Australia, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

A 2019 survey found 57 out of 400 homes in Wadeye were seriously overcrowded, some with more than 20 occupants.

"These disturbances will only be solved if family groups, elders, traditional owners and government agencies come together in order to discuss and implement solutions to the current feuds plaguing the community," Supt Pennuto said.

"Police have a role to play, but there are many factors that are outside our ability to influence."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting