3 Jun 2002

PMC leader in Solomon Islands ecstatic at success of amnesty

5:19 pm on 3 June 2002

The Solomon Islands Peace Monitoring Council says the weapons amnesty which finished at the weekend exceeded their expectations.

The Chairman Paul Tovua says around 1700 weapons have been surrendered by former militants since the Townsville Peace Agreement in October 2000, but more than a third came in over the past five weeks.

Mr Tovua says it is now up to the Government to act against those who did not comply with the amnesty offer.

The Government has said that these people will face the full force of the law.

Many weapons, many of them high powered remain in the community, but Paul Tovua says the removal of hundreds of guns from the community has created a sense of greater security.

"Unlike in the past you don't know whether there's going to be a gunfight or shootout the next day or the next week at a location in the town or the village,..... and also the people and the public.... it is very good they are not frightened ....now they talk openly about surrendering weapons, people say look please come forward and surrender weapons."