Kandep violence claims two

National, Normal

TWO deaths were reported in Kandep as violence caused polling in three areas to be cancelled, and counting of votes shifted to Mt Hagen.
Polling in three areas scheduled for Wednesday was cancelled because of violence, denying about 1,000 their right to vote.
Returning officer Poevare Tore cancelled polling in Savi, Myuan and Tarapis due to fighting and attempts to change registered polling venues.
Mr Tore told a crowd that gathered outside Kandep station yesterday that he had decided to cancel polling and would not change his mind.
He said he would not risk putting his polling officers in areas where there was trouble.
A chopper was heading into Tarapis to drop a polling team on Wednesday, but the pilot turned back when he saw people fighting on the ground as he was preparing to land.
Clash between supporters of candidates occurred in a number of areas.
At the Kandep station, a fight broke out and supporters of rival candidates used sticks, stones, axes and bush knives to attack each other.
Three vehicles were smashed in the clash, before security forces intervened to disperse the fighting factions.
John Yakka, the council president for Kandep pointed his finger at a candidate (named) for starting the fight.
Meanwhile, a small girl walking along the side of a road with her mother was killed when hit by a vehicle allegedly owned by a candidate.
Her mother was seriously injured and taken to hospital.
Police said the girl and her mother were hit by a speeding car near the Kandep station.
They are investigating the incident.
In another incident, a man was axed to death following an argument over the elections on Wednesday evening.
His body was dumped near a village called Wasa. A police unit went into the area yesterday morning and retrieved the body, which was later handed to relatives.