The National, Monday July 9th, 2012
By JEFFREY ELAPA
A MAN was knifed after supporters of two candidates in the Imbonggu open seat clashed in Mendi town.
Election officials and people of Southern Highlands have requested for an extension and increased deployment of security forces during the counting period.
Provincial election manager David Wakias said election officials and the people petitioned the government to extend the deployment of security forces in the province for up to three months.
After the petition was made, two groups of supporters clashed in front of the Bank of South Pacific in Mendi. A man was hit with a bush knife and was rushed to the hospital.
He said to maintain a peaceful conclusion to the election, the government must approve the extension and increase police and defence security forces presence to contain law and order issues related to the polls.
Wakias said that intelligent reports indicated possible disruptions to the counting processes.
After the first incident, more election-related problems were anticipated which needed the immediate deployment of security forces.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill who received the petition before flying back to Port Moresby said he could consider the petition.
However sources in the security forces said additional troops were being sent to the province.
The security forces are expected to remain in the province to provide security and clean-up operations if the government funded the operation.