1 Oct 2002

Request for funding of guns buy-back scheme in Papua New Guinea

6:32 pm on 1 October 2002

The Papua New Guinea lands minister, Robert Kopaol, is to ask again for national funding for his guns buy-back scheme.

He says he's been turned down once already by the minister of finance for his proposal to rid the Southern Highlands of illegal guns which have been proliferating as a result of intense tribal warfare.

Mr Kopaol says he'll be putting his request for funding to the national executive council again.

"I am a very frustrated leader, because I think I have the answer to the problem but the funds that is not available to speed up these things, so let them condemn nobody, but the scenario here is that there is no money, though I am full of energy, I have organised myself, I have a really good structure a really good team, but no funding"

Mr Kopaol says the scheme has three elements with a peace awareness campaign, an identification of villages and people with guns and then the buy-back of the guns.

He says those who give up their weapons could be offered compensation in the form of community infrastructure like sports funding or other initiatives.

Mr Kopaol says Mendi, Tari and Kagua are being targetted as well as his Nipa Kutubu electorate.