2 Feb 2005

Leaders on PNG's Bougainville island may arm police

2:21 pm on 2 February 2005

Leaders on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville are considering arming police as the province prepares for the election of its first autonomous government from May the 20th.

Last week, chiefs on Buka called for police to be armed after a rise in crime, including an attack which hospitalised a German aid worker.

The President of the People's Congress, Joseph Kabui, says the situation is nothing like Port Moresby or Lae, but the island's leaders have been discussing whether police should carry guns.

"Not so much to get those weapons and for them to be used up front, but only to act as a deterrent to others, the Mekamuis in this case, who are still holding weapons and others, besides the Mekamuis, who are possessing weapons at this time."

Joseph Kabui