Relatives Of 3 Killed In PNG Election Related Violence Want Kina, 3,000 Votes In Compensation

Election Commissioner says demands are illegal

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 1, 2017) – Aggrieved relatives of three people killed in an election-related ethnic clash in West New Britain last week have come with an unusual compensation demand.

They are asking for K200,000 [US$61,000] each for the dead as well as 3000 votes each to two candidates of their choice who are contesting the West New Britain Regional and Talasea Open seats.

Chief Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato when told of this incident said; “It is illegal for people to demand and hold voters at ransom for their votes.”

Provincial police commander Jim Namora also said yesterday that three people had died, not four as reported, in the election-related clash between Bali Vitu Islanders and Bulu people of Talasea last Thursday.

Mr Namora said relatives of the three dead are demanding that the attackers pay the monetary compensation as well as vote for the two candidates of their choice William Gare for West New Britain Regional and John Paku for Talasea Open.

He did not elaborate on the compensation demand but reported that 31 suspects have surrendered to police.

Chief Superintendent Namora said his men were still trying to diffuse a tense situation in Kimbe. “We will not rest until the situation is brought back to normalcy,” he added. He was grateful to Police Commissioner Gari Baki, who was on a provincial visit, for playing a major role in easing tension and fear in the community.

“The situation is under control but tension is still in the air as negotiations between the two factions are taking place. Kimbe main market remains closed while business houses are opened but have cut down on business hours with a beef-up of security personnel to one shop,” he said.

Chief Supt Namora also said that 17 prisoners escaped from Lakiemata jail in a mass breakout.

One has been re-captured while police and Correctional Services officers are stretching their limited manpower to search for the escapees.

Mr Baki is visiting the province, accompanied by New Guinea Islands Assistant Commissioner of Police Anton Billie and his deputy Chief Superintendent Paul Kamuai.

PNG Post-Courier
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