Police Raid In PNG’s Mt Hagen Uncovers Illegal Weapons

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Community feared firearms to be used in tribal warfare

By Anderson Kopono And Michelle Steven

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Nov. 14, 2014) – The Mt Hagen police in their biggest raid to date had confiscated 32 weapons, including guns, from the Opaikrangima tribe in Kimil, Jiwaka Province.

The operation started on Wednesday through a tip-off by concerned community leaders, who feared tribal warfare and mass destruction because of arms build-up by warring clans of the Opaikarangima tribe over the ownership of the Oki Coffee plantation in Kimil, Jiwaka.

The task force of Mt Hagen, using three search warrants, raided the houses of three men who were believed to possess these weapons and brought them to the police station in Mt Hagen.

The three suspects were identified as Michael Tee – the plantation manager who had five hand-made guns, one toy rifle, one point 22 rifle and one CS gas – Francis Pa had one toy pistol, one toy air rifle, one life am SLR, two live Sig pistols and two live ammunition shot guns while the third suspect possessed two live hand grenades, one toy air rifle, two home-made shot guns, 11 SLR live bullets and one 50 caliber live bullet.

They were not arrested during the raid because they were not home during that time.

Provincial police commander Martin Lakari said this was the first of its kind to confiscate a large number of fire arms.

Mr Lakari sent out a warning that these three men have to come forward before the task force starts looking for them.

Officer-in-charge of task force, Chief Sergeant Moses Kalandi said they will still pursue the operation and make more arrests.

He said there was a big fight between the sub clans over the coffee plantation, which has brought about these weapons into the Kimil area.

PPC Martin Lakari said these weapons are weapons of mass destruction and are very expensive but these so called elites are buying them and giving them to the villagers. He urged them to stop this illegal exercise.

He also appealed to other people who are building up arms to be careful.

"Weapons are not toys, they have serious impacts of mass destruction if used," said Lakari.

And he also warned that they will ultimately be confiscated by police and charged accordingly.

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