4 Jul 2005

New report says illegal guns come from police and military in PNG

7:26 pm on 4 July 2005

A unique report on the gun problem in the Papua New Guinea province of Southern Highlands shows that the majority of guns are sourced from the military and police.

The author of the small arms survey report, associate professor Phillip Alpers, from the University of Sydney, says there are nearly 2,450 privately held firearms in the province, of which close to half are high-powered assault weapons.

Mr Alpers, says the work is unique because information was collated by talking to the people on the ground, including mercenaries and tribal leaders.

"Around the world, men love talking about their guns and you only need to plug into that and you get some remarkable stories being told and they showed us their guns, they were quite happy to tell us what prices they paid, who they used them against, why they got them, how they came into the country - if they did - or more likely which police or military they stole them from."

Mr Alpers says despite the high number of guns, there's almost no international gun trade in PNG.