Moresby police chief rejects call for capital curfew after election violence

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Caretaker Prime Minister James Marape
Caretaker Prime Minister James Marape (centre) with Attorney-General Dr Eric Kwa (left) and Police Commissioner David Manning at a media briefing yesterday ... "Let the Electoral Commission do its job and complete the counting process." Image: The National

By Gynnie Kero in Port Moresby

National Capital District Metropolitan Police Superintendent Gideon Ikumu has ruled out a proposal to impose a curfew in the capital city Port Moresby in the wake of the recent spate of violence.

He said the situation was expected to return to normal after soldiers yesterday joined policemen on the city streets monitoring the crisis.

A fight started on Sunday evening following a dispute between scrutineers of the Moresby Northeast candidates inside the counting venue at the Sir John Guise stadium.

It spilled onto the main road where men armed with machetes attacked each other.

It continued yesterday morning.

Most business houses told their employees to stay at home yesterday for their own safety.

Vanimo-Green MP Belden Namah called for an immediate declaration of a State of Emergency in troubled zones throughout the country.

Namah calls for ‘state of emergency’
“I am now calling for immediate declaration of the State of Emergency and curfew in Port Moresby, Enga and all the trouble zones,” Namah said.

But Ikumu said a curfew was not necessary as security personnel were monitoring the situation.

He hoped everything would return to normal today.

He said police had rounded up 18 suspects since Sunday.

“Less than 10 [people were] injured. Most didn’t go to the hospital,” Ikumu said.

“No deaths. Police have to link those suspects to the incident.

“They are subject to further investigations.”

Police chief turned to military
Police Commissioner David Manning asked Defence Force Chief Major-General Mark Goina for assistance.

Caretaker Prime Minister James Marape yesterday said the National Capital District was no place for criminals.

Marape said that additional manpower from the Papua New Guinea Defence had been deployed to support the Royal Papua New Guinea constabulary to police the nation’s Capital District.

“If you do not like the results of the counting, take it to the court of disputed returns,” he said.

“And let the Electoral Commission do its job and complete the counting process, send your scrutineers in to witness, and all candidates and supporters stay away from counting sites,” he said.

Marape said that candidates who were contesting to become leaders should not try to take the law into their own hands.

Gynnie Kero is a reporter for The National in Papua New Guinea. Republished with permission.

Police and the PNG Defence Force jointly patrolling streets in Port Moresby
Police and the PNG Defence Force jointly patrolling the streets in Waigani yesterday. Image: PNGDF
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