By YVONNE HAIP
AFTER five years of tribal fights, the Mapoa tribesmen in the Baiyer district, Western Highlands province, are willing to sell their guns to the State.
Last week, during the launching of their Mapoa peace and prosperity association, the tribesmen said unless the State implemented its “buyback guns” policy, they were willing not to sell their guns to the State.
The people said initially, the guns used during the fighting had cost them a lot of money and could not give them away for free to the State.Community leader Paul Yambi told The National last Friday during the launching of their association at Sanap village that they did not want to sell their guns to other people because it might later be used in their tribal fights or other criminal activities.Mr Yambi, who is also the chairman of the peace and prosperity association, said whatever money the people would be getting from the sale of their guns under the “buy-back guns” policy would be used in small income generating activities.
He said the Mapoa tribe wanted their area to be free of guns.
He added that the people fought each other for five years and now wanted to live in peace and harmony.
He said to sell their guns back was one of the many plans initiated by the association to make sure that there was peace in the area.Mr Yambi also announced that 45 men and women from the area were selected to become community policing officers.
He said these people would be trained by Mt Hagen police under the community policing unit to maintain order in the area.
He explained that these officers would be fighting against anti-social behaviour such as illicit drug production and consumption and stealing.
The officers, described as peace negotiators, would also help combat problems such as rape,
intimidation and harassment among others.
Mr Yambi said five years of tribal fighting was enough and his community now wanted development and other services to reach their area.
The years of fighting resulted in 54 deaths.