The Commander of the Joint Security Task Force (JSTF) for the 2022 National General Election, Police Commissioner David Manning, has expressed his appreciation for the way in which communities have come together in Port Moresby to prevent further unrest during the election.
Mr Manning said following the initial outbreak of violence a week ago, security forces have been working closely with candidates and supporters, and with community leaders, to prevent any further incidents.
“We thank all of those who have pitched in to work together and plan for a peaceful conclusion to the election in the National Capital District,” Mr Manning said.
“The leaders in our communities play a vital role in ensuring security through the way that they lead their people. Following the confrontations last week, emotions have cooled and the candidates in particular have stepped up and taken responsibility for the actions of their supporters.
“There are ongoing investigations into some candidates who are believed to have been inciting their supporters to fight with opponents, and arrests will be made.”
Commissioner Manning said the JSTF, through co-ordinated operations involving Police, Defence and Correctional Services personnel, will maintain their focus on keeping communities safe as the election draws towards a conclusion.
“There are still many days and weeks to go until the Return of Writs, Parliament sits and then anticipated court hearings for disputed votes to be heard. Through this time there is the potential for confrontations between opposing candidates and their supporters, so security forces will remain on high alert in Port Moresby and in other centres around the country.
“We will not tolerate violent action and attempts to disrupt, so it is better that any unrest is nipped in the bud before it can begin.
“The JSTF will continue engaging with candidates and community leaders to keep emotions in check and to prevent misinformation and rumours causing unrest.”