Ballot boxes destroyed in Kandep violence

National, Normal

TWO ballot boxes containing registered votes were destroyed in Kandep as violence flared yesterday.
Polling in the by-election, extended to third day because of poor weather on some areas, did not end as expected.
Police and election officials said yesterday the two ballot boxes were burnt by supporters of a candidate near Kandep District Office while election officials and scrutinisers of other candidates were escorting the boxes to the office for storage.
They also said voting in at least one polling place in the Lai Valley and three at Pura and Wete areas in Mariant sub-district were expected to be concluded today.
Acting provincial police commander Albert Beli confirmed that there were reports of violence on the final day of polling yesterday but could not give details.
However, other government officials on the ground said a fight broke out among supporters of several candidates after the ballot boxes were destroyed, resulting in serious wounding of two men.
The officials also said another vehicle was burnt at Bioko in Lower Wage as it was on its way to Kandep yesterday from Margarima in Southern Highlands province.
The officials said the supporters of a certain candidate suspected the vehicle of carrying marked ballot papers for another candidate.
A teacher at Bioko, who did not want to be named, confirmed the burning of the vehicle using his mobile phone.
He said the vehicle was one of four belonging to a candidate who was held up around the Bioko area near the border of Lower Wage and Margarima.
He said three vehicles were seized by supporters of another candidate at Bioko while the forth vehicle was reportedly destroyed by fire.
He said the people who were in the vehicles were being held captive by supporters of the candidate.
Former Wage local level government president and village chief Michael Marabe also confirmed the incident at Bioko.
Mr Marabe said there were other instances of supporters attacking other supporters and innocent people in the Lower Wage area and parts of the Lai valley.