Election violence played down

Thursday April 27, 2017 Written by Published in Regional

PAPUA NEW GUINEA – A regional police commander in Papua New Guinea’s Highlands has played down the threat posed by firearms in the approaching elections.

 

An eight week campaigning period began this week before PNG goes to polling booths around the country in late June.

In a departure from previous polls, individual provincial and regional police commands are to manage their own security in these elections.

Some leaders in Hela and Southern Highlands provinces have called for extra police deployments to their region, due to a reported firearms buildup among tribes.

The acting police commander of the Highlands Western region, Mark Yangen, said the his police force was well prepared.

“ I don’t think they’ll use any firearms. I know these people have the firearms in their villages, I will not deny that they have it,” he said.

“But normally they don’t use it during the campaign period, the polling, because the security forces are on the ground and we have stacks of policemen coming from Moresby, we have the Defence Force, we have the correctional services staff.”

Violence – and the sudden death of an intending candidate – have already marred the nomination period of the elections, according to local media reports.

One man was shot dead and another seriously injured when a group of men attacked vehicles carrying an MP and his supporters to file his nomination in Chimbu on Tuesday, according to The National.

Kerowagi MP Camillus Dangma was attacked and two of his vehicles were burnt when he and his supporters arrived at the Kerowagi station to file his nomination.

In retaliation, one of Dangma’s men fired shots at the attackers killing one man and seriously injuring another.

Provincial police commander Chief Superintendent Sibron Papoto said police quickly intervened and no government properties were destroyed.

“The province has limited manpower and police did what they could do to contain the situation,” he said.

In Hela, a truck carrying a candidate’s supporters overturned, killing one man and injuring 30 others last Sunday.

In Gulf, an intending candidate for the Kikori Open collapsed and died on Monday evening, while on his way to place his nomination.

            - PNC sources

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