Moresby police chief rejects capital’s call for curfew after election violence

By Gynnie Kero in Port Moresby

National Capital District Metropolitan Police Superintendent Gideon Ikumu has ruled out a proposal to impose a curfew in the capital Port Moresby following the recent wave of violence.

He said the situation should return to normal after soldiers yesterday joined police on the streets of the city to monitor the crisis.

A brawl began on Sunday night following an argument between scrutineers for the Moresby Northeast candidates inside the counting room at Sir John Guise Stadium.

It spilled onto the main road where men armed with machetes attacked each other.

It continued yesterday morning.

Most trading houses told their employees to stay home yesterday for their own safety.

Vanimo-Green MP Belden Namah has called for an immediate declaration of a state of emergency in troubled areas of the country.

Namah calls for ‘state of emergency’
“I now call for the immediate declaration of a state of emergency and curfew in Port Moresby, Enga and all problem areas,” Namah said.

But Ikumu said a curfew was unnecessary as security personnel were monitoring the situation.

He hoped that everything would be back to normal today.

He said police had arrested 18 suspects since Sunday.

“Less than 10 [people were] injured. Most didn’t go to the hospital,” Ikumu said.

“No fatalities. Police need to link these suspects to the incident.

“They are the subject of further investigations.”

The police chief turns to the army
Police Commissioner David Manning has asked Defense Force Chief Major General Mark Goina for help.

Acting Premier James Marape said yesterday that the National Capital District is no place for criminals.

Marape said additional Papua New Guinea Defense personnel have been deployed to support the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary to monitor the National Capital District.

“If you don’t like the results of the recount, take it to the contested returns court,” he said.

“And let the Electoral Commission do its job and complete the counting process, send your scrutineers to testify, and all candidates and supporters stay away from the counting sites,” he said.

Marape said candidates vying to become leaders should not try to take justice into their own hands.

Gynnie Kero is a reporter for The National in Papua New Guinea. Republished with permission.

Police and the PNG Defense Force were jointly patrolling the streets of Waigani yesterday. Image: PNGDF
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