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Recent fighting in Papua New Guinea has forced about 90,000 people from the country’s highlands, with the violence linked to the national elections in July, the Guardian reported.

Since May, violence has gripped the provinces of Enga, Southern Highlands and Hela, affecting thousands of people. The United Nations estimated that more than 260,000 were then affected by the 2022 general election violence, in which around 50 people were killed and schools and other public buildings burnt down.

Themba Kalua, the UN’s resident coordinator and UN Women country representative, said that about 25,000 children have been unable to attend school, adding that there have been reports of rape and kidnappings.

While violence has been mainly tied to the election, Kalua said the conflict also had other causes including lingering tribal disputes.

Meanwhile, aid officials said that accessing the areas affected by the violence has been extremely difficult.

Local authorities added that they have established a team with 40 investigators to examine the election-related violence.

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