Police and army continue search for illegal firearms and ammunition

The Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary and the PNG Defence Force are continuing their best efforts to search and uncover stockpiles of illegal weapons and ammunition.
In a joint media conference held today at the Police headquarters in Port Moresby, Police Commissioner Mr David Manning reaffirmed the commitment of both disciplinary forces in dealing with the challenges of illegal smuggling of weapons, ammunition and controlled substances.
He reminded the people, and those profiteering from these illegal activities to stop. He also sounded a warning to the rank and file that as leaders of both disciplinary forces, they will not take this lightly.
“I made it quite clear that the smuggling of illegal firearms and ammunition is a criminal act. Regardless of what oaths you swore, whether it’s under the PNGDF, the RPNGC or the Correctional Services, this action is a criminal action, and you are a criminal when you deliberately and knowingly participate in this type of activity,” Mr Manning said.
This warning comes after a man was arrested attempting to transport ammunition from the Port Moresby Jacksons airport to Mt Hagen. Police investigation is continuing in this case.
Mr Manning said the authorities are concerned with the latest interception of ammunition which he said are tracer rounds and allows for the shooter to be able to see the direction of where he is shooting at in low light.
He further said, “We work at all times to regain the confidence of our people ensuring that we are there in these violent times, but also acknowledge there is a growing reluctance to cooperate with security forces when it comes to giving police intelligence where these firearms are coming from, who is in possession of them, who is purchasing them, who is supplying them or who is transporting them into tribal conflict areas.”
Mr Manning said to begin with, it is vital to start where they can, and that is by ensuring and taking stock of their weapons and ammunitions, and ensuring that they eliminate any possibility of any reoccurrence of the same.
He said evidence and intelligence would suggest there is a worrying amount of weapons and ammunition in the hands of criminal elements.
“Any threat to our sovereignty, peace and order in our country, should be labelled as acts of domestic terrorism,” Mr Manning said.
He hopes in the next sitting, the National Parliament will progress the reading of the domestic terrorism act, which was proposed on the floor of parliament in the last sitting. The Act will allow the security forces to act with more deliberate and focused efforts without worrying about the legal repercussions or lack of legal cover when expected to use appropriate force when dealing with these threats.
Meanwhile, the Acting Chief of Defence Force, Commodore Philip Polewara, said the PNG Defence Force has already started taking stock of and auditing all its weapons and ammunition.
Despite the best efforts of the two disciplinary forces, he said it was this kind of incident that destroyed the process and the efforts of both forces.