4 Jul 2002

Death toll in election related violence in PNG Highlands reaches 16

4:07 pm on 4 July 2002

Police in Papua New Guinea's Enga province say a candidate in the elections will be charged with murder after the deaths of two men at a polling booth earlier this week.

The Enga police commander, John Anawe, has told the Post Courier newspaper that the candidate shot the two men as they were casting their votes.

He told the paper that the candidate had tried to shoot the young son of a man he had been arguing with, before firing at the two people voting.

Mr Anawe says they know the candidate and he will be arrested and charged with wilful murder.

Meanwhile a student was gunned down on Monday in Western Province.

The Courier reports that these killings bring the deaths in election related violence in the Highlands provinces to 16.

In another report of violence, a worker from the Ok Tedi Mine in Southern Highlands says he was beaten up by a sitting MP and his supporters last week.

Puringa Wambia had been flown to Port Moresby for medical treatment after the attack.

Voting in Enga province is expected to be completed today, and in Southern Highlands tomorrow.

In the other Highlands provinces, Chimbu, Western and Eastern Highlands, voting has been completed but the count has been stalled by a lack of funding.