Armed supporters cause chaos in PNG capital

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Running in a group like a pack of animals, they were armed with bush knives, iron bars and other weapons as they chased down two men outside the counting centre at the Sir John Guise Stadium, Waigani, in Port Moresby Sunday afternoon.

They reached the first man, and without a second thought they slashed him.

Then they reached the second man, he falls, they slash without hesitation, and they continue attacking him.

The third man isn’t so lucky, he is casually walking by and the mob turned their attention to him, he puts up his hands in a sign of protest, he is attacked, his hand sliced off, he falls and they mercilessly slash him.

PNG Police Commissioner David Manning is disgusted by the turn of events saying: “How many ways can you report animalistic behaviour?”

The Post-Courier has confirmed that six men have been injured but no deaths reported.

The video has now caught the attention of everyone, the response is quick, all makeshift tents belonging to scrutineers, vendors and supporters were removed, burnt and everyone outside the Sir John Guise Indoor Complex were chased away by security personnel.

And what was the issue these men were angry about? It was alleged that about nine ballot boxes from ward 6 in Moresby Northeast.

The Post-Courier understands that scrutineers from Moresby Northeast demanded the counting officials to stop nine boxes from ward 6 to be counted and continue to wards 9 and 12 because a candidate was leading.

The scrutineers argued among themselves and the argument was taken outside, where it led to an argument and eventually a fight broke out.

The Post-Courier was at the scene after the video was released and witnessed security personnel removing all makeshift tents along the John Guise Road which passes by the stadium where the counting is taking place.

For the next 30 minutes from 3.30pm to 4pm, security personnel entered Vision City gates and checked the area.
More security personnel were outside checking vehicles and removing any remnants of the makeshift tents.

Shots were also fired into the air to disperse crowds that had gathered. It was a tense moment.

Eventually the area was cleared Police say after the slashing of the men, about 30 minutes later, police stopped a blue land cruiser and nine suspects were apprehended with five bush knives in their possession.

The nine were taken to the Waigani police station cells and their particulars were taken down by police investigators. Police are now investigating incident.

Meanwhile, shots were fired around the Rita Flynn Courts as police also removed and dispersed makeshift tents of scrutineers, supporters and vendors along the Bava road.

According to a police source what happened at SJGS may also happen at other counting centres and thus police are not taking any more chances.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS