By Miriam Zarriga in Port Moresby
Papua New Guinea police have warned opposing candidates to return 50 missing ballot boxes for the Lagaip electorate in Enga province or the process would be declared a failed election.
Provincial Police Commander acting Superintendent George Kakas emphasised this after earlier warnings went unheeded.
He said police were investigating how the boxes disappeared during a confrontation between opposing groups last week in Lagaip.
Kakas said he had made many calls to two candidates to tell police why their supporters had clashed and where the ballot boxes were.
One of the candidates has been questioned as well about why there was a huge man-made ditch cutting off Laiagam station from Porgera and Wabag.
The events of the past two weeks have raised questions about whether the election in Lagaip should be labeled as “failed”.
A report has been given to EC Simon Sinai on the events in Lagaip. However, Sinai has not responded.
’14 boxes empty’
“From the numbers I have received, about 14 boxes were brought back empty with no votes cast, about 40 plus are unaccounted for,” Kakas said.
“The incident in Lagaip has led to a ditch dug at Sirunki by unknown men blocking of the highway and leaving passengers stranded on either side.”
Kakas said he had called on the two candidates whose supporters were said to have dug the ditch to bring the culprits in or both of them would be arrested and charged.
“As we tried to travel to Porgera the ditch stopped us, that ditch is about 4 metres deep and about 7 metres long, most likely dug by using a machine, we tried to use another way into Porgera instead trees had been chopped to block the road,” he said.
“Now we are stuck in Wabag.”
Enga province has turned into a fighting zone with security personnel walking into ambush and fighting with armed gunmen before escaping with their lives, it is alleged 10 men have been killed.
Miriam Zarriga is a PNG Post-Courier journalist. Republished with permission.