Attack on officials halts polling

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday July 10th, 2013


POLLING was halted in the Kome and Wapi local level governments in Menyamya district, Morobe, after a group of men attacked election officials on Monday evening.

District business development officer Tali Yanga said yesterday district administration officer Heboling Mulaso and he had been assaulted. 

Yanga claimed Joe Philip, brother of local MP Benjamin Philip led the group that assaulted them.

“We were surprised that they came from elsewhere and attacked us,” Yanga said. 

“I suffered bruises and Mulaso was admitted to the health centre for treatment.”

He said voting had been called off indefinitely until an investigation was carried out and the instigators arrested.

Yanga and Mulaso appealed to provincial election steering committee chairman Patilias Gamato and police commander Leo Lamei to send in the police mobile squad to investigate.

“If the instigators are not arrested, typical Menyamyas will still disrupt this LLG election,” Yanga said.

Gamato said he would discuss the matter with provincial electoral manager Simon Sinai and Lamei to find ways to send in police immediately.

Lamei said policemen assigned to Menyamya were still waiting for funding for a vehicle, fuel and allowances.

 “It’s illogical for Menyamyas to fight among themselves because they are voting for their own leaders,” Lamei said. 

“Candidates and supporters must stop instigating further issues to allow people to exercise their democratic rights without fear and intimidation.”

He said MP Philip rang him from Port Moresby yesterday to say mediation would be held to settle the issue.

When contacted, assistant returning officer and Kome council manager Peto Serum said the mediation was in progress.