PNG govt says it's serious about outlawing guns
The Papua New Guinea government says it is serious about outlawing guns across the country with leading figures in law and order being engaged in discussions on how the bold plan can be implemented.
Guns could be banned in Papua New Guinea under legislation that the prime minister says his government is preparing for parliament.
Peter O'Neill says the country doesn't need firearms to control law and order
Johnny Blades reports.
Leading figures in law and order in PNG are being engaged in discussions on how the bold plan to outlaw firearms can be implemented as soon as possible. It comes at a time when tribal fighting in the Highlands still unleashes horrific spates of violence involving guns, such as in Enga province where 15 people were killed in one tribal conflict over a two week period last month. EM TV recorded the Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas telling parliament that PNG should outlaws guns:
SIR PETER IPATAS: There's no need to carry guns. If we can have no guns it will go a long way towards maintaining law and order.
Prime Minister Peter O'Neill says he agrees that PNG does not need firearms, indicating his government is serious about finalising legislation to create ban
PETER O'NEIL: We have now talked to the Police Commissioner and his management team and we should now get all the firearms back into the armoury.
The prime minister made reference to the successful approach of police during the recent Pacific Games in PNG, when unarmed disciplinary forces were on patrol. However, patrolling the Pacific Games is a different prospect to containing tribal conflict in the Highlands where weapons of many varieties are in circulation. It's part of the reason why any disarming of police and military forces would have to be a staged process, according to a former PNG defence force commander. Major General Jerry Singirok, who supports the call for outlawing guns, says PNG has a long-running problem with the flow of illegal firearms, particularly at the country's remote edges
MAJOR GENERAL JERRY SINGIROK: All these international borders are porous so the gun trade, guns for drugs and ammunition is still open. It's a multi-faceted scenario where we have a series of sources of guns coming into Papua New Guinea, let alone the illegal use of state-issued guns mainly through the police have been known to be used by dependents of criminals or even rogue policemen.
He says a comprehensive 2005 report from a guns control committee which he chaired already outlined the need for outlawing guns.
MAJOR GENERAL JERRY SINGIROK: Guns were recommended to be considered outlawed and illegal for any ordinary person to have access to guns other than the security forces, and they too were to come under strict guidelines and security. The report is comprehensive and we are yet to see this government implement the PNG guns control report.
The Police Minister Robert Atiyafa says he is directing police to resist from carrying firearms in public.
ROBERT ATIYAFA: They will leave the guns to the special units and for those officers like the transport officers or traffic officers or other general duty policeman they can have them in vehicles or identified vehicles and to encourage them not to show any guns when they are on the beat.
The minister says he has asked the police commissioner to instruct provincial police commanders to issue orders to this effect.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: