PNG police arrest 18 suspects following election attacks in Port Moresby

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Papua New Guinea Defence Force troops out on the streets of the capital Port Moresby in support of the police
Papua New Guinea Defence Force troops out on the streets of the capital Port Moresby in support of the police to restore peace in the city following yesterday's unrest near the general election counting centre in Waigani. Image: PNGDF

Inside PNG News

National Capital Dictrict (NCD) police have arrested 18 suspects following the slasher attacks on civilians yesterday outside Papua New Guinea’s national elections counting centre at Port Moresby’s Sir John Guise stadium.

NCD Metropolitan Superintendent Gideon Ikumu said the men were “persons of interest” and police would continue investigating.

“The men [suspects] are in custody with no charges laid until completion of the investigation by our CID,” Superintendent Ikumu said.

He also reassured city residents and the public to remain calm as the police were now out in numbers to carry out patrols and maintain order in the city.

“I hope this doesn’t happen again — our men are now dispatched to areas of concern to monitor and to ensure public safety is guaranteed,” Superintendent Ikumu said.

Superintendent Ikumu said members of the PNG Defence Force were also assisting city police by protecting the counting area at the Sir John Guise Stadium.

“This will now see support units assist regular police to maintain order in Port Moresby,” he said.

The city police chief said opportunists were also taking advantage of the situation. He urged city residents and the general public to be vigilant.

“While police and other security forces are out to ensure order, I call on residents to be mindful when moving around,” said Superintendent Ikumu.

He had also asked the NCD Election Manager to suspend counting until tensions eased in the city.

‘Global shame’
The National’s Rebecca Kuku reports that Papua New Guinea was “shamed internationally … when general election 2022 (GE22) candidates’ supporters turned the streets in the … capital Port Moresby into a battlefield.

“Innocent people ran helter-skelter as political supporters wielding bush knives started chasing and slashing people indiscriminately on the streets in front of City Hall (the National Capital District Commission building) about 2.30pm.

“People were seen running into the compound of the nearby Vision City Mega Mall for refuge as the assailants went about slashing their victims who collapsed on the spot.

“The uncivilised electoral violence started at the nearby Sir John Guise Stadium where counting of GE22 ballots were in progress for the Moresby Northeast electorate.

“Police said the knife-wielding offenders were supporters of two candidates and at least two were wounded.”

Republished with permission from Inside PNG and The National.

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