7 Apr 2003

BRF says all Bougainville guns must be destroyed

4:26 pm on 7 April 2003

The Bougainville Resistance Force in Papua New Guinea says all weapons of the secessionist war must be disposed of by destruction.

The BRF, which was the government-aligned faction during the island's ten-year civil war, says this was agreed during a meeting in central Bougainville last week.

The BRF chairman, Hilary Masiria, is quoted in the Post Courier newspaper as saying freedom and peace of mind cannot be achieved as long as guns are placed in containers which can be broken into.

He says the BRF is guided by the views of the community that has experienced the horrors of war.

This comes as the national government is considering a demand for allowances by the BRF which last month threatened to defy the peace process.

For Bougainville to have an election of an autonomous government, the parties of the civil war must surrender their weapons by the end of this month in a process supervised by the United Nations.

Over the following two months, a decision is to be made on how to dispose of the collected arms.