The killings happened on early Monday morning during a raid on Karida, a village of about 800 people in the interior of the country.
Philip Pimua, the officer in charge of the Karida sub-health centre, who was in the village at the time of the attack, told the Guardian that there were 16 victims – eight children aged from one to 15 and eight women, two of whom were pregnant.
RNZ reports that there were 15 victims – 10 women and five children – citing Tari police spokesman Thomas Levongo who examined the scene at Karida. Levongo could not be reached for comment.
Pimua said the attack happened at about 6am on Monday morning, with people killed after opening the door to attackers.
“I wake up in the morning, go to make a fire in my kitchen, at the same time I heard the sound of guns, then I saw some of the houses they were burning, so I knew that enemies are already inside the village,” Pimua said. “So I just ran away and hide in the bush, then later on, about 9 or 10, I came back and saw bodies chopped into pieces and houses were burnt.”