Running in a pack, armed supporters with bush knives, iron bars and other weapons chased down and attacked two men outside the counting centre at Papua New Guinea’s Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby Sunday afternoon.
A cluster of makeshift tents set up outside the Stadium and along the fence line of a nearby mall were removed by the security forces. In the process of doing so, knives, clubs, and other non-lethal offensive weapons were found and confiscated.
“This altercation and violence has put the lives of the innocent public in danger. We must understand that while the election process is taking place, people must be free to move about their normal activities without the fear of violence,” said Anthony Wagambie Jr, Assistant Police Commander for NCD/Central.
Detectives at the helm of the investigations have confirmed that two men were wounded in these attacks.
Footage of the marauding mob armed with bush knives has gone viral on social media. Taken by a bystander inside a shopping mall, the footage shows the mob slashing their victims. The victims were taken to the hospital for treatment. The Police investigation team is now in contact with the two men and statements will be collected.
So, what caused the commotion? A dispute between scrutineers from Moresby Northeast was taken outside, where eventually a fight broke out, Post Courier reports.
“I have instructed the Metropolitan Superintendent to work with candidates to ensure that while we ensure that public safety is maintained, candidates and their scrutineers must also be catered for so that transparency in the process of counting is maintained.
“I also call on candidates to exercise their leadership in controlling their supporters for the benefit of the public in NCD,” ACP Wagambie Junior said.
Port Moresby City Manager, Ravu Frank described the filmed fight that was circulated on social media as disturbing and inhuman. He called for continued peace and order during the counting period.
We are not rigging elections says Marape
Meanwhile, party leader and caretaker Prime Minister, James Marape says the Pangu party is not rigging the PNG elections. says party leader James Marape.
He said if Pangu had rigged the elections, it would have made a clean sweep of all 118 seats, including Maprik Open in East Sepik, which party strongman, John Simon has lost.
“People have been falsely claiming that Pangu is rigging the elections, that there are extra ballot papers and making all other manner of lies,” PM Marape said from Wewak, where he is currently in camp to form Government.
“If one of my key PANGU leaders can lose, in elimination count, this dispels the myths and unnecessary suspicions and rumours fuelled by losing candidates, and those who are struggling to collect votes, that Pangu is carrying out illegal activities in the elections.
Marape said the voting environment was basically the same in all electorates of the country – whether it be Electoral Roll, logistics, counting venue and others – and was not done in a way to favor one party.