Parl group says more guns remain in B’ville

National

THERE is still large caches of high-powered guns and weapons on Bougainville, according to a parliamentary committee.
The chairman of the bipartisan committee on Bougainville, William Powi, said weapons disposal was a precondition to setting the date for the 2019 referendum under the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
Powi said the initial plan to remove arms from communities had been overseen by the United Nations Observers Mission on Bougainville which ended in May 2005.
“Since 2005, there has not been a strong enforcement for the removal of arms, despite efforts by the governments and authorities at every level,” Powi told parliament yesterday.
“Some Bougainvilleans have called for a review of the agreement to bridge gaps and strengthen to resolve such as the surrender of arms.
“In the course of our consultations, we noted that quite a number of Bougainvillean leaders as well as other people made reference to the presences of arms in communities.
“They include weapons left over from the recent conflict, guns brought in illegally from other provinces or countries, and weapons found, repaired or made in Bougainville, mostly Second World War arms.
“Apart from the security concerns, there were other Bougainvilleans believed to be armed to protect their interests.
“Other individuals include some involved in alluvial gold mining and the marijuana trade.”
Powi said the committee had visited Bougainville in 2016 and 2017.
“And we hope to make another visit soon to get an update of the situations in Bougainville before the referendum (next year),” Powi said.

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