2 Jul 2002

Election problems continue throughout PNG

3:33 pm on 2 July 2002

A total of 13 people are now reported to have died in election related violence in Papua New Guinea, with many injured and thousands of dollars worth of property destroyed.

Local newspaper reports say the most recent deaths were in Chimbu province, where 3 men were reportedly killed in a weekend fight between supporters and tribesmen aligned with rival candidates.

And in the Western Highlands, police allegedly shot dead a mentally impaired youth as they tried to disperse a crowd at political rally last week.

Meanwhile, police in East Sepik province are bracing themselves for problems in case political icon, Sir Michael Somare loses his regional seat.

A contender for the seat, Allan Bird, who is PNG's largest vanilla farmer, says his family, campaign officials and scrutineers have received threats of violence from supporters of Mr Somare.

In other election developments....

Vote counting in several provinces has further delayed because the Electoral Commssion has not paid allowances to polling officials.

And in Gulf Province, bad weather and a lack of transport has delayed counting , with three polling teams still stranded in remote areas of the region.