31 Aug 2006

PNG police urge politicians to lead in Highlands gun amnesty

3:11 pm on 31 August 2006

The police in Papua New Guinea say politicians must show leadership over a gun amnesty in the Southern Highlands province.

The three week amnesty for the surrender of illegal firearms comes a month after a state of emergency was declared in the province.

The highlands are notorious for illegal firearms which are used in tribal fights, highway robberies and to intimidate during elections.

PNG's deputy police commissioner, Gari Baki, says the amnesty is a bid to break the gun culture in the Southern Highlands.

But he says politicians must lead by example.

"Our political leaders need to take leadership in this issue of amnesty. Behind a successful leader you have a group of tribesman and the clans so as a leader they're responsible for ensuring that the people live the way they are.If they're responsible for their actions in having to support them in terms of acquiring illegal firearms for the people then they must come forward and take the leadership."

Mr Baki says 75 per cent of the 500,000-strong population has illegal firearms.