Citation(s) from the literature library

Warner, Nick. 2004 ‘RAMSI's Mandate - Speech to the National Security Conference.’ Operation Helpem Fren: Rebuilding the Nation of Solomon Islands, pp. 2-3. Canberra: Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands / RAMSI. 23 March

Relevant contents

RAMSI's Mandate - Early Successes

In planning the operation, it was decided that the first priority would be to disarm the militants, who retained high-powered weapons taken from police armouries during the so-called "ethnic tensions".

In the first week of Operation Helpem Fren we announced a nationwide gun amnesty with the endorsement of the government that would run for three weeks throughout the country. All guns were to be handed in, without exception. This included all police weapons…

As a result, more than 3700 guns, including about 700 high-powered military-style weapons, were ultimately collected.

The destruction of weapons was a very public affair. Rather than containing weapons, RAMSI decided to cut them up in front of the onlooking crowd – including those who had just surrendered them - in a potent display of our commitment to ridding the nation of firearms.

Obviously, not all weapons were handed in; we have information to suggest that militants have cached some weapons, including high-powered ones. Over time, some of these will be recovered. Many will stay in the ground forever…

It is indisputable that the collection of such a large number of weapons has given the country a massive confidence boost. There have been no reports of militants or anyone else brandishing weapons and intimidating people. We are now working hard to ensure that this is a permanent change to life in Solomons.

[Special Coordinator Nick Warner was the first officer in charge of RAMSI]

ID: Q9207

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