Budget cut stalls gun amnesty


By Rebecca Kuku
THE Papua New Guinea Defence Force will not be executing a gun amnesty due to funding issues, commander Lt-Col Gilbert Toropo says.
Toropo said the callout operation was withdrawn and Defence Force would instead concentrate on other priorities like preparing for the Apec summit and maintaining border operations due to a cut in its 2018 Budget.
The Defence Force was allocated K208 million for next year, K20 million less than this year.
Toropo said the amnesty callout was launched in Hela where phase one of voluntary surrender of illegal firearms was rolled out.
“The second phase was supposed to be a search, collection and arrest of people still in possession of illegal firearms but it was put on hold due to this year’s general election,” he said.
“We were planning on rolling out the second phase in Hela and then continue on from Hela to Southern Highlands, down to Enga, then Mt Hagen and eventually the rest of the country.
“But due to the financial cuts, we will not be able to roll out the second phase or continue on with the operation.”
Toropo said that the callout would be on hold until such time when the Defence Force had funding available.
“The funding cut was unfortunate and will affect our operations but we understand the country is going through difficult times so we will concentrate on protecting our border and preparing for Apec.”