27 Nov 2002

More surrendered weapons on Bougainville stolen from containers

5:20 am on 27 November 2002

Papua New Guinea's Minister for inter-government relations Sir Peter Barter says Bougainville leaders and ex-combatants must demonstrate their commitment to peace by redoubling their efforts and completing the weapons disposal.

His comments come amid revelations that more than 200 guns have been stolen from United Nations weapons containers on Bougainville.

PNG's National reports Sir Peter saying he's concerned at the increasing rate in which containers storing weapons surrendered by ex-combatants have been forced open and the firearms removed.

Sir Peter says in recent weeks a total of six containers at five locations had been opened and to date 212 guns have been removed.

He says however that over 1600 firearms had been surrendered by ex-combatants and put away as part of the provinces' weapons disposal programme for destruction.

Under the Peace Agreement between ex-combatants and the PNG government, all weapons in the province must be surrendered before Bougainville can establish an autonomous govenrment.