22 Apr 2005

Restrictions on ammunition exports to PNG reduces availability of bullets

6:50 pm on 22 April 2005

A study into gun-running in Papua New Guinea has found the availability of ammunition has been reduced because of restrictions placed on the export of bullets from Australia and New Zealand.

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

Philip Alpers, the Adunct Associate Professor at the University of Sydney's School of Public Health, is part of the study team which has been looking at gun-running in PNG's highest risk province for firearms violence, the Southern Highlands.

Mr Alpers says since 2002 a far more limited number of rounds of ammunition has been allowed in to PNG, and the effects are apparent...

"In the Highlands we found that suddenly people were having great difficulty getting ammunition for their firearms. And there are literally people, criminals and tribal fighters in the Southern highlands who can't buy bullets to shoot people and that is"

because the price of ammunition has doubled because of this export licensing regime imposed by both Australia and New Zealand.

The report also claims that in PNG most of illegally-used guns came from local police or military, rather than across a border.