MAN ARRESTED AT PNG AIRPORT WITH SMALL ARSENAL

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Police confiscate rocket launcher, grenades and other munitions

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan, 5, 2009) – MT Hagen police confiscated a rocket launcher along with nine grenades, a sophisticated lens and two CDs from a man at Kagamuga Airport last Wednesday.

A suspect from Nipa in Southern Highlands province was transporting the items on a flight from Kikori, Gulf province, into Western Highlands province, when police checked his luggage and confiscated the items.

The suspect was arrested.

The rocket launcher was dismantled and neatly packed in a suitcase.

The suspect is locked up at the Mt Hagen police cells awaiting formal charges.

Provincial police commander Chief Supt Thomas Eluh said last Friday that police knew the weapon was a rocket launcher by looking at the illustration but they were yet to identify the type and what sort of damage it could cause when used.

He said police suspected that the weapon was being smuggled for use in tribal fights in the province.

Chief Supt Eluh said it was a very dangerous weapon and they were now looking for an expert to identify it, adding they had called PNGDF personnel at Korowil but they could not identify the weapon.

He said they would formally charge the suspect after an outside expert identified the weapon.

He said, at the moment, the suspect was locked up in the police cells without being formally charged.

Chief Supt Eluh said police could not release the suspect on bail because it was a serious matter, because the suspect had allegedly breached the Civil Aviation Authority Act by transporting a dangerous weapon on a plane and endangering the safety of the passengers and the plane.

Meanwhile, Chief Supt Eluh said people in the province celebrated the New Year peacefully.

He commended the people and his hard-working police personnel for their cooperation.

He said such a peaceful atmosphere must be maintained throughout the year.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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