27 Feb 2017

Gun amnesty in PNG province to end tomorrow

11:14 am on 27 February 2017

People in Papua New Guinea's Hela Province have one more day to hand in illegal firearms before a gun amnesty ends.

Hela Province Tribesmen

Hela Province Tribesmen Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

The amnesty was introduced last month when more than three hundred police and military personnel were sent to the Highlands province after months of tribal fighting and a build-up of high-powered firearms.

Police operations commander David Manning said once the amnesty ends on Tuesday the military would start a round up of people who are holding onto illegal weapons.

Mr Manning said that around 85 high-powered weapons had been handed in so far, which he estimates is about 30 to 40 percent of all known weapons in Hela.

He said tribal fighting had decreased significantly since the military arrived, but mediation sessions were taking place because they couldn't be there forever.

"We have addressed most of the known tribal fights, we've engaged with the warring tribes, we've had very productive discussions and mediation sessions with them and we've managed to curtail most of those fights that were initially reported to us. Others require a bit more conflict resolution."

Mr Manning said the security callout was only an initial phase of a long-term effort in Hela, which will involved rebuilding the police hierarchy and governance in the province.

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