For national security, hold that container: Basil

The Opposition is calling on PNG Customs to keep the 280 high-powered guns quarantined until after the National Elections.

Deputy Opposition Leader, Sam Basil, says the semi-automatic firearms, which were seized by Customs in Lae in October, must continue to be quarantined at Igam Barracks, where they are currently being held.

Basil said the circumstances surrounding how the firearms were brought in was suspicious, especially on the eve of the elections. He alleges that the guns may be used by political opponents.

“We are calling on the hierarchy of Igam Barracks please, hold that container for national security.

“We cannot let it go out because there was a statement issued by the Police Commissioner that that container will be moved out.

“And if it moves out, it will be given a manner of weeks and months, those 200 firearms will be gone. And it will be ending up in the hands of the political cronies up in the highlands so they can look after the elections,” claims Basil.

Basil is calling on the Commissioner to stop issuing firearm licenses, especially in the lead-up to the elections.

He also commended the Commissioner for the amnesty on to illegal firearm owners.

The 280 semi-automatics were seized by Customs in Lae as they were not properly declared.

Chief Secretary to Government, Isaac Lupari, said the firearms were ordered by the Royal PNG Constabulary through private firms involved in importing and exporting and that Customs will be thoroughly investigating the shipment.

It is understood the firearms will be used by both the RPNGC and the PNGDF.

Cedric Patjole