Former PNG military chief calls for gun ban to curb election violence

NZ's gun control report 2005.
Gun control report 2005 ... "No unauthorised person should have access to a gun, whether it's homemade or factory-made." Image: RNZ

PNG Pacific

A former Papua New Guinea military commander who drew up a plan 17 years ago to try to end gun violence says the first thing he would do is ban the public from owning guns.

Major-General Jerry Singirok compiled a gun control report in 2005.

It included 244 recommendations for governments to follow to end the years of gun violence in PNG — but the use of guns has become more prevalent in the years since.

Major-General Singirok said there should be a ban on the public having weapons with only security services permitted to carry them.

“There is no need for Papua New Guinean citizens to own a gun. It’s as simple as that, and we should draw legislation and policies around that statement so that we support the view that no unauthorised person should have access to a gun, whether it’s homemade or factory-made,” he said.

The national election that is now into its final stages has been described as the most violent in PNG’s history.

Major-General Singirok was commander of the PNG Defence Force during the Bougainville civil war and gained fame for stopping the Sandline mercenaries in their tracks in 1997, saving the country from further bloodshed.

Marape confident of forming government
The party of Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, James Marape, is reported to have attacted 67 MPs to its camp at Loloata on the outskirts of Port Moresby.

Major General Jerry Singirok
Retired Major-General Jerry Singirok … “There is no need for Papua New Guinean citizens to own a gun. It’s as simple as that.” Image: RNZ/AFP

The camp is isolating MPs while they negotiate a possible coalition agreement.

NBC reports the support for Marape’s Pangu Pati could grow further, bolstering its chances of it continuing in power.

Marape has announced that those in the camp include independents and MPs from the National Alliance and United Resources Party, which were part of the outgoing coalition.

The caretaker prime minister said Pangu Pati itself was expected to increase its numbers from its current 30 MPs.

In a statement, he claimed Pangu Pati had been given an overwhelming mandate to form government.

There are 118 MPs in Parliament with 60 seats needed for a majority.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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