5 Jul 2002

Death toll in PNG election violence rises to 16 after candidate shoots two men

10:34 am on 5 July 2002

A political candidate in Papua New Guinea has gunned down two men at a Highlands polling booth, bringing the election death toll to 16.

The attack, which follows Monday's fatal shooting of a schoolboy in the Western Highlands, has further marred PNG's worst-ever election.

The Enga police commander John Anawe told the Post-Courier newspaper that the candidate had shot two men after an argument broke out over ballot papers.

There were also reports that a dozen renegade soldiers were disobeying orders by escorting candidates in the highlands.

The paper says the soldiers were accompanied by a number of dishonourably discharged soldiers who had kept their uniforms.

Many citizens are yet to vote in the national poll, which officially began on June 15 and was supposed to have finished last week.

While the governor-general agreed to extend polling until this Saturday, by law the winners still have to be announced by July 15.