19 May 2005

Latest theft of guns on Bougainville will not delay poll - UN Mission head

11:00 am on 19 May 2005

The head of the United Observer Mission on the Papua New Guinea Island of Bougainville says this weeks' elections will go ahead despite 50 guns being stolen from a container in the southern part of the province.

The guns were scheduled to be disposed of with UN supervision yesterday under the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

According to the agreement all weapons collected as part of the disarmament process were to be desposed of before elections could go ahead.

However Tor Stenbock says on Tuesday night someone broke into the container housing the weapons.

Despite the theft, Mr Stenbock says the elections will go ahead as planned.

"I do think that the fact that they have not been disposed of according to the agreed plans should not be any hindrance for the elections to go on as scheduled, and they will."

Mr Stenbock says he thinks the issue is a matter for the law to deal with and is not a political issue.