Citation(s) from the literature library

Alpers, Philip and Conor Twyford. 2003 ‘Stockpiles and Trafficking in the Pacific: Home-Made Production.’ Small Arms in the Pacific; Occasional Paper No. 8, p. 25. Geneva: Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. 31 March

Relevant contents

[In the Solomon Islands, craft weapon] production was facilitated by the ready availability of wartime ammunition, mostly of .30 and .50 calibre. Ammunition of this size - particularly the .50 calibre - lent itself well to the production of home-made firearms, since local water pipes were the right diameter or could be machined to fit.

Occasionally, other home-made weapons were reported in these conflicts, including 12-gauge shotguns, rifles of .22, .303, 5.56mm, and 7.62mm calibres, 40mm cannons, and even rumours of an anti-tank gun, also probably 40mm, which never seems to have been sighted. (33)

In summary, crude single-shot .22 or .50 calibre pistols and 12-gauge shotguns were by far the most commonly observed home-made firearms in either conflict. (34) There is no evidence of local production of pump or lever-action, semi-automatic or automatic firearms.

In both conflicts, home-made guns were produced in greater quantities by the side with proportionately less access to high-powered firearms… In the Solomon Islands conflict, close relations with the police meant that the Malaita Eagle Force (MEF) sourced many of its firearms directly from the police armoury. The Isatabu Freedom Movement (IFM), an opposing ethnic group, had fewer claims on police support, and so augmented its arsenal by producing home-made guns. (35)

The Bougainville and Solomon Islands conflicts gave rise to a spate of home-made production, which petered out as the conflicts themselves abated. In these post-conflict environments, home-made guns became virtually worthless. (36)

Sources cited:

33) Interview with John Fennessy, Leader of the IPMT and Tony McLeod, IPMT Deputy Leader, Honiara, 28 May 2002; personal correspondence with the Bougainville Peace Monitoring Base, 15 Aug. 2002.

34) Personal correspondence with Flt.-Sgt. John Phillips, former RNZAF IPMT armourer, 14 Aug. 2002 and Lt.-Col. Andrew Morris, Defence Adviser, New Zealand High Commission, Port Moresby, 14 Aug. 2002.

35) Interview with Trisha Gray, Solomon Islands Desk Officer, AusAID, Canberra, 24 April 2002. the mainland French government.

36) Interviews with John Fennessy, Leader of the IPMT and Tony McLeod, IPMT Deputy Leader, Honiara, 28 May 2002

Bougainville Peace Monitoring Group (BPMG). 2002c. 'Bougainville Weapons Containment Update.' Unpublished document. 24 October.

Solomon Islands International Peace Monitoring Team (IPMT). 2001. 'Weapons Containment Data.' July.

ID: Q559

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