28 May 2002

Solomons police say officers will hand in illegally held guns

6:55 pm on 28 May 2002

Solomon Islands police say 60 officers have handed in illegally held weapons and more are expected to do so before the amnesty expires at the end of this weekend.

The deputy police commander of operations, Wilfred Akao, says he believes that all of the officers will hand over the guns when the deadline expires.

He says a reconciliation ceremony was held after what he called a misunderstanding when some officers refused to surrender their weapons and burst into the Solomon Islands Broadcasting corporation, wrecking a studio.

Mr Akao says police understand what effect holding on to the guns has had.

"They have seen and experienced themselves a lot of the side effects the guns have caused through the community and also themselves, so that is really, you know, what really compels the officers and people who are willing to surrender their arms. And, I don't believe any statement that police officers are still having some reservations to hold on to arms, no."

Mr Akao was unable to give the number of illegally held weapons still in possession of the police but he says there are contingency plans in place if the guns aren't handed in.