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Concern as hundreds flee NT violence

NT violence
Senator Malarndirri McCarthy is concerned about people displaced by a feud in a remote NT community. Photo: AAP
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A federal senator has raised concerns about the Northern Territory’s response to a violent feud between rival clans in a remote Indigenous community.

One man has died after reportedly being speared in the head in Wadeye, 400km southwest of Darwin, and 37 homes have been extensively damaged during the unrest.

That’s left hundreds of people displaced from the community of about 3000, with reports women and children have fled to the bush with little more than blankets.

Senator Malarndirri McCarthy says people are in “desperate situations” and basic humanitarian needs are not being met.

“This means shelter, food, sanitation, and medication,” she said in a statement provided to AAP on Wednesday.

“It’s unacceptable what is taking place in Wadeye in terms of hundreds of people being forced out of town and into surrounding home lands and bush camps.”

Historic tensions between clans have 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.

With an estimated 10 people living in each home in remote NT communities and 37 homes damaged, more than 350 people could now be displaced.

Wadeye is all but closed to the public without a Northern Land Council permit.

A media visit to the community was planned for Wednesday but it was cancelled after traditional owners asked reporters to stay away.

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.

Police have previously said rioters have been armed with a range of weapons, including crossbows, steel bars and traditional spears.