7 Jul 2004

UN says there are around 250 weapons still to be destroyed on Bougainville

4:08 pm on 7 July 2004

The Head of the United Nations Observer Mission to the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville says they have reached the toughest part of the gun disposal programme.

Last week the UN Security Council agreed to a PNG Government request to extend the UNOMB's term by a further six months until December 31st, but stipulated there would be no additional extensions.

The UNOMB's leader, Tor Stenbock, says so far, they have destroyed 85 percent of the guns contained on the island, but another 250 plus weapons still need to be got rid of.

Mr Stenbock says the destruction of these remaining guns is the most important job they face and he is not sure how long it will take.

"it is always like the last mile in the race, it is always the hardest part. We also have to overcome some kind of distrust between the ones that are now holding onto the guns. We have to do some reconciliation between individuals and clans and also have to increase awareness on the process itself in these areas"