PNG police play down Highlands firearms threat in elections

6:48 am on 27 April 2017

A regional police commander in Papua New Guinea's Highlands has played down the threat posed by firearms in the approaching elections.

An eight week campaigning period begins today before PNG goes to polling in late June.

In a departure from previous polls, individual provincial and regional police commands are to manage their own security in these elections.

Some leaders in Hela and Southern Highlands provinces have called for extra police deployments to their region, due to a firearms buildup among tribes.

The acting police commander of the Highlands Western region, Mark Yangen, said the force was well prepared.

" I don't think they'll use any firearms. I mean in fact these people have the firearms in their villages, wwill not deny that they have it," he said.

"But normally they don't use it during the campaign period, the polling, because the security forces are on the ground and we have stacks of policemen coming from Moresby, we have the Defence Force, we have the correctional services staff."

PNG Party rally during the 2012 Papua New Guinea election campaign.

Campaigning during the last election in 2012. An eight week campaigning period begins today before this year's general election in late June. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

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