Election observer punched by security personnel

An independent observer for the 2017 National Election was punched in the face by security personnel.

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato said acts of assault by security personnel have been reported to the Police Commissioner.        

“So far, there were two incidences of intimidation and aggression by security personnel brought to my attention,” Gamato said in a media briefing this afternoon.  

“And this has prompted me to write to the Commissioner of Police, Gari Baki over the weekend to register my grave concerns.

“The first incident occurred at the Rita Flynn Sports Complex counting venue for Moresby North West and NCD Provincial Seat, and it involved an observer, a local (PNG) who is deployed as part of the Australian National University.

“He was punched by security personnel with his mobile phone smashed and was refused entry to Rita Flynn to oversee counting there.

“The second incident brought to my attention involved members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) who are headed by former Solomon Islands Prime Minister Sir Francis Billy Hilly.

“The MSG observers were also subjected to harassment and aggression by security personnel on two occasions.

“As Electoral Commissioner, I am deeply concerned about the manner in which election observers have been treated as this does not reflect well on us as host nation,” Gamato said.

(Caption: File picture)


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Charles Yapumi