Frustrated Candidates, Supporters Destroy Nine Ballot Boxes In PNG's Hela Province

Police commander confirms burning; anger erupted after discrepancies on common roll

By Rebecca Kuku in Hela

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, June 29, 2017) – Nine ballot boxes were destroyed in Hela yesterday due to variations in the common roll, according to provincial police commander Michael Welly.

Welly said eight boxes were destroyed around 1am and one in the afternoon.

“Six boxes from South Koroba and one from Hulia One LLG in Komo-Margarima were burnt and one ballot box from the Hulia Two LLG was hijacked in the early hours of yesterday,” he said.

Welly said another ballot box was destroyed in the afternoon in the Lower Wage LLG.

“The incident where eight ballot boxes were destroyed in the early hours was caused by the variation in the common roll,” he said.

“In some areas, the voting population had decreased and was lower than the voting population in the previous elections.

“So frustrated candidates and their supporters destroyed the ballot boxes.”

Welly said the afternoon incident in Lower Wage was due to border issues.

“Lower Wage shares its border with Southern Highlands and some people were angry because people from the other side of the border had come in to cast their votes.”

Welly said the nine destroyed ballot boxes would not be counted as they were invalid.

He said polling in the remote parts of Hela would be held today.

“The polling officers, materials and security operations were airlifted out of Tari to be inserted into their respective polling areas.”

The National
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