Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has condemned the burning of ballot boxes in the Mendi Police Station in Southern Highlands in the early hours of this morning (August 18 2022).

He has described those who did this as “constitutional terrorists” who would be hunted down by the full force of the law.

“I condemn the burning of ballot boxes in the Mendi Police Station in Southern Highlands early this morning,” PM Marape said.

“Those responsible are not ordinary arsonists, but ‘constitutional terrorists’, who can enter a police station and burn ballot boxes containing the votes of the people.

“This is State property and such an act is one of ‘terrorism’.”

PM Marape said he had already asked Police to go into Mendi, conduct an investigation and arrest those responsible.

“Those responsible must be brought to justice,” he said.

“People in Papua New Guinea cannot continue to take the law into their own hands forever.”

PM Marape said his Government’s No. 1 priority over the next five years from 2022 to 2027 would be law-and-order.

“Over the next five years, I will strengthen our police and justice system, as my Government gives its biggest attention to law-and-order,” he said,

“A secure and safer PNG in our towns and villages will ensure that our economy grows, will ensure the growth of health and education infrastructure, will ensure that our people get served better.

“We cannot allow lawlessness to continue to permeate the length and breadth of our country.

“I will, in the first instance, ensure that Southern Highlands, Hela, Enga and other hotspots are attended to at the very earliest.”

PM Marape also announced that a police team had been established to ensure that criminal charges were laid against all those who had engaged in illegal practices and election-related violence and offences.

“Police will get to work on this right across the country,” he said.

“This should serve as warning to those who continue to engage in such criminal acts that their reign of terror cannot continue forever.”