30 Aug 2006

Arms amnesty declared in PNG's Southern Highlands

6:56 pm on 30 August 2006

A three-week amnesty starts in Papua New Guinea tomorrow [thu] for the surrender of illegal firearms in Southern Highlands province.

This has been announced by the police minister, Alphonse Willie, a month after a state of emergency has been declared in the province.

The Southern Highlands is notorious for illegal firearms which are used in tribal fights, highway robberies and at election-time to intimidate rival candidate supporters and election officials.

The amnesty calls for all illegal firearms to be surrendered and promises immunity from criminal prosecution if people comply.

The state of emergency to date has generally been peaceful with police confiscating provincial government vehicles taken over by unauthorised persons and issuing notices to those illegally occupying government houses to vacate or face eviction and prosecution.