12 Aug 2002

Alert in Southern Highlands after threats from election candidates

3:39 pm on 12 August 2002

Police in Papua New Guinea's southern highlands province are reported to be on alert after six candidates in the last election threatened to cause destruction to major resource projects and to get the province to secede.

The Post Courier newspaper says the politicians made the threat last week in a bid to be declared winners of their respective seats after the election commissioner declared polling in the electorate as failures.

They threatend violence from last Friday while the electoral commission is yet to decide whether fresh elections will be held.

Another candidate, James Marabe, has called on the six self-declared winners who issued an ultimatum in Port Moresby to go home and await fresh elections.

Mr Marabe says that they should not be afraid to go through fresh elections because the process should confirm them as winners if they won their seats.

But the candidates said last week a fresh poll would lead to bloodshed of unimaginable proportions.

They also said they had already spent millions of kina in cash and thousands of pigs and other food items during their campaigns.