Citation(s) from the GunPolicy.org literature library

Alpers, Philip. 2008 ‘Papua New Guinea: Small numbers, big fuss, real results.’ Contemporary Security Policy: Inconspicuous disarmament: The politics of destroying surplus small arms and ammunition; 29 (1), p. 157. Arlington, VA: Routledge / Taylor & Francis. 1 April

Relevant contents

Bolting the Stable Door

In recent years, leakage of small arms from PNG defence stocks has been dramatically reduced. With Australian funding and assistance under the bilateral Defence Cooperation Programme (DCP) and its Pacific Small Arms Project, seven new PNGDF armouries were constructed at a cost of more than PGK 7 million, or USD 1.8 million.(33)

Since the new facilities were handed over in 2002 and 2003, the only acknowledged thefts of PNGDF weapons were in January 2003, when four M16s were taken from an insecure warehouse at Murray Barracks, and in September 2003, when six SLRs (since recovered) were taken from the Murray Barracks armoury.(34)

While the country's military weapon armouries have all been hardened, improvements to the security of PNGDF ammunition magazines have been delayed by such complications as land ownership disputes. Nevertheless, DCP-supported safety and security upgrades are ongoing. The need for continuing improvement was highlighted in 2005 by a theft of 9,560 rounds of military ammunition from the Lombrum Naval Base, where a new magazine has since been built.(35) A published police report of 26,673 rounds taken from Goldie River Barracks in 2006 remains unverified, and this event is disputed by PNGDF.(36)

In addition to facilitating the identification and destruction of surplus small arms and explosives, the DCP's Pacific Small Arms Project has also provided stockpile management, security and logistics training for PNGDF staff, and assisted with its stock-take of all military small arms.(37)

Although hardened storage facilities, tightened inventory protocols and ongoing training for those in charge have greatly lessened the risk of small arms leakage in PNG, the human factor vulnerabilities of any such system remain. As shown in Fiji, the Solomon Islands, on previous occasions in PNG and recently also in Australia, armoury and magazine security can only be as reliable as those who hold the keys. Nevertheless, PNGDF efforts to prevent the loss of military small arms and ammunition far surpass anything achieved by the constabulary. In the same period, little has been done to staunch the much more widespread and ongoing leakage to illicit use of weapons and ammunition under police control.

Sources cited:
33) Department of Defence Annual Report 2005-2006. Canberra: Department of Defence. 24 October 2006; Australia Hands Over Armouries. Post-Courier, 15 July 2003.
34) Firearms Stolen from Barracks.' 6 February 2003; Alpers, Gun Violence, op.cit.
35) Wakus, Wanita. -- Big People Linked to Armoury Break-in. Post-Courier (Port Moresby). 3 October 2005.
36) Bonsella, Bonney. Stolen Ammo Total 26,673. National (Port Moresby). 22 March 2006; Ilau interview, op.cit..
37) Cheung, Ada and Martin Landauer. Where Next for the UN Programme of Action on Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons? IHL Newsletter, No. 14. Sydney: New South Wales Red Cross. December 2006; Crane, Michael. Stockpile Management: Physical Security of Armouries, Small Arms Security Management Assistance, and Unexploded Ordnance Training and Assistance. United Nations Regional Seminar on Small Arms and Light Weapons for the South Pacific. Nadi, Fiji: Department of Defence (Australia). 19 August 2004.

ID: Q9174

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