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Guns to be Surrendered on Pitcairn

Guardian (UK) / AP

11 August 2004

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Descendants of the mutineers from the Bounty living on the remote Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific have been ordered to surrender their guns before the start of a contentious paedophile trial.

Seven Pitcairn Island men face 96 charges over allegations of sexual abuse, with some of the alleged offences committed up to 40 years ago. The trial, which is due to begin on September 23, has caused increasing tensions on the tiny island and authorities fearing its inhabitants could take the law into their own hands.

Pitcairn's deputy governor, Matthew Forbes, who is based in the New Zealand capital, said that his boss, the British High Commissioner to New Zealand, had ordered residents to surrender their firearms, which they use to hunt wild goats for meat, shoot breadfruit and coconuts from tall trees and occasionally to shoot sharks.

If people don't hand in their guns, authorities will legislate to suspend all firearm licenses on the island and guns will be taken from residents, he said.

ID: N73

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