By JIMMY KALEBE
PAPUA New Guinea (PNG)’s General Election 2022 (GE22) is proving to be no different from previous elections since Independence 1975, as far as violence and fatalilties are concerned.
Police have confirmed that two men were shot dead last Thursday in a clash between supporters of two political parties in Morobe’s Huon Gulf.
Morobe commander Superintendent Jacob Singura confirmed that the incident in Munum Village outside Lae was election-related.
“The allegations and cause of deaths will be determined after autopsy reports.
“The post-mortems will be conducted on Tuesday,” he added.
Singura said police had yet to make an arrest but would proceed with arrests after the post mortems.
“The Crime Investigations Division investigators with the provincial police command will also be investigating the burning of a vehicle, market houses and other properties that were destroyed.
“In the confrontation of political supporters, several people were also injured.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Lae MP John Rosso, Northern Assistant Commissioner Peter Guinness and Singura intervened the following day to address the issues.
The locals then agreed to clear the main highway after police assured them that it was a police matter and investigations would be thorough.
Singura appealed to both sides of the political divide to stop creating other related problems and work closely with the police to have those responsible for the killings identified and arrested.
“At this stage, we are still trying to identify the shooter or shooters,” he said.
Meanwhile, Morobe Rural Patrol Unit commander John Davianga, district administrator Moses Wanga and Huon Gulf MP Ross Seymour met with Zifasing locals on Friday and told them to refrain from retaliation.
Seymour said the violence was pre-planned claiming it was an act of jealousy against National Alliance Party.
“We were on our way in a convoy of 139 vehicles from Morobe, Salamaua and Wampar to Lae to receive my nomination registration number.
“Two men then exposed their genitals as we passed by to incite hatred and anger.
“Youths also pelted objects at us, injuring a woman from Gabansis who was then sent to Angau Hospital.
“On our way out of Lae, surprisingly, groups of people attacked our convoy at Ngarogoam, Aumanpo Creek and Munum Maus Rot,”he said.
“The convoy passengers then got out of their vehicles to defend themselves.
“Instead, the locals mobilised and attacked with sharp objects from all directions.
“When I arrived at the scene from Nadzab Airport, police soon opened fire, dispersing crowds along the highway.
“As I passed through, the situation worsened.”
Seymour said the relatives of the dead had claimed for K200,000 compensation but police investigation would determine the cause of the violence and the process to settle the matter.
Wanga said responsible leaders needed to get their facts right to help police in their investigations.