War zone PNG

Main Stories

PAPUA New Guinea (PNG)’s capital Port Moresby was in total chaos for about 24 hours until yesterday afternoon with General Election 2022 (GE22)-sparked-fighting breaking out citywide.
The majority of shops and offices were closed yesterday morning as disgruntled supporters of GE22 candidates went on a rampage wielding bush knives, turning the streets into battle zones.
By the break of morning, Port Moresby looked like a “ghost town”. Buses and taxis had also stopped running.
At press time, no deaths were reported but two people were admitted to the Port Moresby General Hospital from Sunday’s street fighting in front of City Hall (the National Capital District Commission building), near the Vision City Mega Mall.
By late morning yesterday violence was reported in nearly every suburb, with schools and most shops and businesses closed for fear of more knife-wielding youths and men causing mayhem and looting. However, by late afternoon the violence and threat subsided as police and soldiers brought the situation under control.
NCD Assistant Commissioner Anthony Wagambie said most of the fighting were not election-related but opportunists taking advantage of the dispute on Sunday evening and some were just rumours that caused panic among city residents.
“No one was killed on Sunday evening as some people are alleging on social media.
“That is fake news, only two people were badly injured,” he said.
“We have made contact with them and have taken their statements and we will investigate and charge the perpetrators.
“We have arrested and detained 18 people, nine from Sunday evening and nine from today (yesterday) who were moving around in a bus all armed with knives,” he added.
Prime Minister James Marape, accompanied by Wagambie declared there was no need to declare a State of Emergency nor a curfew as demanded by Opposition Leader Belden Namah.
Counting for the Moresby North-East electorate resumed at the Sir John Guise Stadium from where the trouble erupted on Sunday and escalated into a running knife-wielding battle.
Wagambie said with just four days left for counting, the Papua New Guinea Defence Force and Correctional Services would provide counting security for the sites in the city.
“All police manpower will be used to police the city and attend to incidents reported,” he added.