More PNG troops bolster Highlands security
Tue, 10 Jul 2012 11:46a.m.
The Papua New Guinea Defence Force has sent two more groups of soldiers to the Highlands region to help provide security during the expanded election period and the caretaker Prime Minister has been declared first constituency winner. Radio Australia’s PNG correspondent Liam Fox reported Peter O’Neill had comfortably retained his seat of Ialibu Pangia in the Southern Highlands. While there are 111 seats in Papua New Guinea, no other final results were yet available this weekend.
The originally scheduled two-week period for polling was due to be completed by now but the Electoral Commission has ruled that it will need to be extended with polling still to be completed in some provinces. One of the PNGDF groups will join the joint task force team in Southern Highlands, Hela and Enga provinces. The second group will be deployed in Eastern Highlands and Chimbu provinces which still have to start polling. One of PNG’s two newspapers, The National, reported the Joint Task Force Commander, Lt-Colonel Ezekia Wenzel, as saying the deployments were based on assessments of threats and possible violence during the counting and declaration period.
Colonel Wenzel said that military intelligence had identified specific locations in Chimbu and Eastern Highlands with a concentration of high-powered guns and ammunitions. Pacific Media Watch reported the elections could go on for almost another two weeks – until July 16 or 17.
Officials said there had been difficulties getting to remote parts of the country, according to Radio Australia. PNG’s governor-general has signed documents extending voting in seven provinces. Australia Network’s Pacific correspondent Sean Dorney said the request for an extension came from Electoral commissioner Andrew Trawen. In observing seven general elections, Dorney said he could not recall one lasting as long. Trawen has blamed remoteness of electorates, logistics and bad weather for the delays.
But Dorney believes the massive security operation for the vote had an effect. As the security deployment moved into the Highland areas, voting delays followed. In terms of preventing unrest at the polls, “it seems to have been quite successful,” Dorney said. Dorney saw a lesser effect from claimed irregularities in the electoral roll. There were now 900,000 more names on the roll than five years ago, which commissioner Trawen told reporters could not be right, but he was going to investigate later.
Pacific Media Centre
Post a Comment
Before commenting, please take the time to read our moderation guide
(Won't be published)
After 10 months at sea, two double-hulled waka will return to New Zealand, having replicated the epic journey of early Polynesian navigators.
A 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck off Tonga today, US seismologists said, but no tsunami warning was issued.
Two comedians are doing their best to make light of a serious issue.
A recent study has found there are very few Maori or Pacific Islanders in sports governance and management roles.
As New Zealanders mark Anzac Day around the country, many Pacific Islanders will join the commemorations.
Copyright © 2013 MediaWorks TV. All Rights Reserved.