30 Oct 2003

PNG police want community help to fight gun problem

4:53 pm on 30 October 2003

Police authorities in Papua New Guinea say tribal fighting with guns is beyond their control without more community help.

The police minister Bire Kimisopa says it's up to politicians, businessmen and community leaders to inform the police about who is arming tribes with high powered weapons.

He made the comments after a law and order summit in Enga called for more police action to help bring lawlessness under control in the province.

He says policing hidden weapons is a logistical nightmare.

"We don't know who are the ones who have got firearms and it is up to the Enga leadership and the politicians of Enga if they are determined to rid their communities from illegal firearms.They should be the ones rendering information. So far we've got nothing from them yet but the police are aware that once we hear of a tribal fight they're not fighting with bows and arrows, they're fighting with high powered firearms but it's virtually impossible for us to identify or to establish the identity of the people who are holding this firearms and also for us to determine exactly what type of firearms they're using"

Mr Kimisopa says firearms are a huge asset to tribes and it is not in the interest of many to provide the police with information.