NT unrest, 37 homes damaged, nine arrests

·2-min read

Nine people have been arrested in a remote Northern Territory Indigenous community amid an ongoing violent feud between rival family groups.

Tensions in Wadeye, 400km southwest of Darwin, escalated in late March and have continued since a 32-year-old man died last week from injuries sustained in a brawl.

Police say nine community members have been arrested after vehicles were set alight and 37 homes extensively damaged, displacing hundreds of residents across the region.

"It's in relation to damage and it's in relation to assaults too," Superintendent Shaun Gill said on Thursday.

A video published on social media and confirmed to be of unrest in Wadeye shows more than a dozen people smashing the windows and walls of a building during the night as onlookers yell and scream.

Supt Gill said rioters were using a range of weapons, including crossbows, steel bars and traditional spears.

"There is numerous amount of weapons. A person was arrested in relation to a crossbow offence," he said.

The tactical response group has been sent to the community of about 3000 people to patrol the streets and protect property.

Officers have also been working to evacuate vulnerable residents from the area and mediate a settlement with Elders to bring the unrest to an end.

With an estimated 10 people living in each home in remote NT communities, more than 350 people could now be displaced.

Historical tensions between clans has allegedly caused the unrest in the community formerly known as Port Keats.

It was established as a Catholic mission in 1935 after traditional owners in the area murdered three Japanese fishermen, according to Thamarrurr Development Corporation.

Wadeye is now one of the largest Indigenous communities in the NT and home to about 20 clan groups.

It's closed to the public without a Northern Land Council permit.

Wadeye resident Ezekiel Narndu, 18, was charged with manslaughter last week over the man's death.

He was denied bail on Thursday in the NT Local Court in Darwin.

His alleged victim sustained serious head injuries in a fight on April 16 and later died in Royal Darwin Hospital, triggering more violence.

Two other men were also injured.

NT police have been contacted for details about the offences of the nine arrested people.

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