A conflict had broken out between two groups in Demta. One group was focussed around a cultural centre they called the Mammo, where their activities, possibly of a messianic or cultish nature, involved belief in a king who would bring salvation. They raised two flags, the flag of the king and the Morning Star flag of Papuan independence. The next day another group burned the Mammo down. To keep the situation calm, several members of the Mammo group reported the matter to the police, whereupon were arrested and charged with treason.