Candidates are issuing weapons, teacher says

National

A BOUGAINVILLE primary school teacher, who has been working in Southern Highlands for many years, says weapons are being smuggled in mostly by better educated people.
Bevelyne Olesi witnessed a helicopter carrying weapons landing on a sweet potato garden at the village where she was teaching.
Olesi shared her experience during a meeting on social and security issues with key government security agencies and partners last week in Mendi in preparation for the general elections.
She said poor youths and subsistence farmers in the province were provided weapons by educated people, mostly candidates, in preparation for the elections and during tribal conflicts.
“It was the poor people’s food garden that was destroyed and many people from the area thought someone important came but weapons were smuggled to the area,” Olesi said.
“The owner of the garden watched in surprise about what was going on, but it was the deal of the educated people doing all their best to smuggle high-powered weapons and that has now contributed to the build-up of firearms in the province.”
Olesi said she had been moving around the province, teaching in remote areas and during elections, and weapons were displayed and the hot topics were how to win the election and enter parliament.
She said there were many awareness programmes carried out over the years on the freedom of choosing leaders and educated people should be the ones telling their people what should be done when electing leaders.

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