Police say two separate landslides in Papua New Guinea's rugged highlands region have killed at least nine people and cut the country's most important highway.

The landslides buried around six homes and nine people at Kenagi village in the Eastern Highlands province.

Two children are believed to be among the victims.

The first landslide happened late on Saturday night, the second came on Sunday morning.

Provincial Police Commander John Kale says it appears heavy rain caused the landslides.

"There is a very big landslide starting from the top of the mountain past the road and all the way down to the river," he said.

Commander Kale says locals have recovered one body, while eight others remain buried.

He says the landslides have also blocked the Highlands Highway, which connects the entire region with the country's second biggest city Lae on PNG's east coast.

"The landslides covered about 30 metres or the road and about two metres high," he said.

Commander Kale says he hopes the highway will be cleared in the next day or two.

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