26 Mar 2004

Former BRA commander unhappy about weapons disposal on PNG island

3:47 pm on 26 March 2004

A former rebel leader on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville says there is anger over the destruction of the guns collected as part of the peace process.

In December last year a meeting of the island's Peace Process Consultative Committee agreed to destroy the guns in the third and final stage of the exercise to eliminate guns from the formerly war torn island.

The PNG government's Bougainville Office says approximately half of the guns, around one thousand weapons have now been destroyed.

But Sam Kauona, who once headed the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, says there is some anger at the destruction.

He says many BRA members were excluded from the Consultative Committee meeting.

He says there are alternatives.

"We could look at for example taking all those weapons to perhaps Burnham where we started the peace process up until our referendum or up until the time we put in place our future government. That could have been one option that I was thinking, completely taking it away from Bougainville, putting it somewhere outside of Bougainville because they are our history. We went through that war, we won the war and we don't want our history to be destroyed ."