20 Jan 2003

Southern Highlands warriors surrender guns and drugs in show of peace

5:25 pm on 20 January 2003

Thousands of warriors wanting peace in Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands province have surrendered more than 250 homemade guns and traditional weapons to police over the weekend.

In a rally, attended by the Minister for Inter Government Relations, Sir Peter Barter and Police Commissioner, Sam Inguba, the warriors from Tari's two main tribes also handed in uprooted marijuana plants.

The Post Courier reports community leaders have blamed tribal wars for depriving people in the province oof basic services such as education and health.

Last week, PNG's Electoral Commission announced that elections for six seats in the province, including Tari, will be held on April 26.

However, the Electoral Commissioner, Andrew Trawen warns that the vote will not go ahead if provincial leaders and police are unable to guarantee security for voters, election officials and ballot boxes.

The polls last year were declared unlawful because of violence.