20 Aug 2003

Solomon Islands weapons amnesty exempts owners of licensed guns

7:25 am on 20 August 2003

The Australian-led intervention force in Solomon Islands says those who have a valid licence to own a firearm are not obliged to surrender their arms when the amnesty ends tomorrow.

The civilian head of the force, Nick Warner, says while about 2,500 arms have been surrendered so far, he has no figures on how many weapons are allowed to be kept legally.

Mr Warner says he cannot explain why it is that such licences exist after he had been advised that none had been issued for three years.

He also says the intervention force has set up police posts on the weathercoast of Guadalcanal but he says he can offer no travel advisory for people displaced from the area.

Mr Warner has also told the media that he is confident a person of professionalism and competence will be put in charge of the Central Bank.

He declined to say whether this means that Rick Hou will be replaced as a governor.