Mendi Stands Still after early morning gun battle

Mendi town is in chaos after a PNG Defense Force and Police contingent failed in an attempt to transfer the 84 disputed boxes for the Southern Highlands Regional seat to Mt Hagen.

Western Command Deputy Commander, Mark Yangen told EMTV News that the Command was not aware of the arrival of the Police and Defense Force Officers.

Last Friday in Mendi town, the public had a peaceful march airing their concerns to the Electoral Commissioner not to make any move to remove the boxes out.

ACP Mark Yangen said Mendi town has been in total shutdown since this morning.
At around 4am today,a group of soldiers and police went to Mendi Police station to remove the 84 disputed boxes for counting in Mt Hagen.

However, the armed supporters of the 24 Candidates of the Southern Highlands Regional seat heard about their move and confronted them.

ACP Yangen said two civilians received bullet wounds and could not confirm their current condition.

Yangen said there were no church service today and Mendi town is in total lockdown with security forces blocking all entry points to the town.

Last Friday, the people of Mendi town staged a peaceful protest march and appealed to the Electoral Commissioner not to order for the transferring of the boxes for counting to Mt Hagen.

The 24 Southern Highlands Candidates also condemned media reports that say the National Court had directed for the counting of the 84 disputed boxes.

However, the Court order on the 4th of September had only dismissed the originating summons filed by a candidate, Joe Kobol, seeking various declaratory orders against the Electoral Commissioner and the Electoral Commission for exclusion of the 84 disputed boxes.

The National Court dismissed it saying it was an abuse of process because there is still a Court Proceeding filed by sitting Governor William Powi,seeking to allow the disputed boxes to be counted.

This will be determined by the Court on the 21st of September. The people of Mendi on Friday have urged the Electoral Commissioner to make a wise decision so that no lives are lost.

Vasinatta Yama

graduated from Divine Word University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts, with majors in Journalism and Public Relations, as well as minors in International Relations and Diplomatic Studies. Her current focus is reporting on court and crime stories as part of the news team. She constantly strives to improve her skills in investigative reporting.

Vasinatta Yama

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