20 Jun 2003

Former Solomons miltants want new gun amnesty

4:24 pm on 20 June 2003

In Solomon Islands, the leaders of the former militant group, the Malaita Eagle Force, have asked the country's political leaders to consider a new gun amnesty.

The former militants have made a submission raising concerns after the proposal that an Australian-led team be brought in to try and restore law and order.

They want to know whether they would face prosecution if they continue to hold onto their guns, and if so, could a new amnesty be established.

The receipt of their submission has been given by the Prime Minister Sir Allen Kemakeza as one reason for a delay in calling Parliament to consider the Australian proposal.

It was to meet next Tuesday but will now not meet until July 8th.

A Honiara lawyer and former spokesman for the Eagle Force, Andrew Nori, says none of the Malaita leadership has misgivings about the Australian plan, though legal issues and legislative issues need to be resolved.

"and I think if parliament meets those can be ironed out. There is no collective opposition to the idea from Malaita as a province, in fact to the contrary, many of their leaders see the proposal as an opportunity for Solomon Islanders to regain control of the economy, of the finances and government law and order."