Lockdown in PNG’s Kundiawa resolved

The capital of Papua New Guinea’s Chimbu province, Kundiawa, is back to normal after a lock-down over an election issue.

The acting provincial police commander, Lawrence Israel, blamed government supporters for the lockdown.

He says they created havoc, destroying some properties.

The supporters of the provincial governor Michael Dua had been seeking that a recount of ballots for the regional seat from the 2017 election be done in a neighbouring Highlands town and not in the port city of Lae.

While the Court of Disputed Returns ordered a recount, PNG’s Electoral Commissioner Patilius Gamato directed the recount take place in Lae.

Chimbu’s former governor Noah Kool is the petitioner in this election dispute.

As a result of the convergence of hundreds of the governor’s supporters, tensions were high in the Chimbu capital, but police say that is now resolved.

The election dispute is just one of dozens still pending after PNG’s troubled general election.

As well as disputed results, the election sparked unrest in various Highlands centres, including Kundiawa where there was deadly violence in the late stages of the 2017 election.

The former Kundiawa MP Tobias Kulang was arrested over a fight in which two men were killed in the town as vote counting was underway, although charges of murder against him were later dropped.

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