9 Apr 2013

New call to remove guns from PNG's Bougainville province

3:31 pm on 9 April 2013

Human rights activists in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville have called for a renewed effort to remove guns from the community.

This comes after last week's brutal killing of a woman leader, Helen Rumbali, in south Bougainville.

The perpetrators had accused Mrs Rumbali of sorcery but the chair of the North Bougainville Human Rights Commission, Helen Hakena, says a protest march on Monday was told the attackers were driven by jealousy of the Rumbali family.

Police have promised to catch the killers while Ms Hakena says the marchers want a total disarmament of the province.

"Because when we see guns - there are so many guns, like guns have come out into the open again after the incident last week on Friday, so we are calling on the Government to send police to investigate and at the same time to remove all the guns that are still in circulation here in Bougainville."

Helen Hakena.

A gun free Bougainville is necessary before the province can conduct a referendum on possible independence, as allowed for under the Peace Agreement.