23 Apr 2005

Politicians, police and military largely involved in PNG gun-running, says academic

7:17 am on 23 April 2005

A study into gun-running in Papua New Guinea has found most illegally-used guns aren't smuggled into the country.

The study was commissioned by the Small Arms Survey in Geneva, and is to be published next month.

The Sydney University Professor, Philip Alpers, is part of the study team, which has been looking into gun-running in the Southern Highlands of PNG - the highest risk province for firearms violence.

Mr Alpers says illicit trafficking of arms in this province at least shows a clear pattern of a single common source...

"A lot of people believe that they're smuggled in from foreign countries - that's not actually the case. Virtually every gun we saw came instead from the police or the military forces. And they leaked from state-owned armories to criminals and tribal fighters and people like this. And that is the major source. The most destructive weapons being used in the Southern Highlands actually come fr om the police and the military, not from some foreign source."

Philip Alpers says PNG politicians should look at their own involvement in illegal gun use if they continue to urge people to disarm.