Stop gun smuggling routes: Peace Advocate
A prominent peace advocate in the Eastern Highlands believes the lack of government intervention in blocking off gun smuggling routes has resulted in the proliferation of firearms.
Tebani Onopika who has been working tirelessly in the Unggai-Bena electorate says, unless the government authorities address this, more guns will continue to be smuggled in.
"Traffickers are getting away easily because there are no checks on the possible routes. Moreover, the culprits are seasoned operators and can adapt quickly to a given environment," said Mr Onopika.
He also added that smuggling guns was a lucrative business, involving airline workers, tax and custom officials, and even law enforcement officers.
However if the suppliers were cut off, he believed this syndicate would stop.
Mr Onopika said another emerging concern was that of gun lords and their status in the community.
"People are scared because they cannot do anything. They too, feel that they must buy guns and defend themselves, otherwise they are vulnerable.
"And it gets worse, because everybody aims to get sophisticated weapons and they all continue to buy guns," said Mr Onopika.
He also said overseas buyers were always improving their vigilance, making it difficult for government authorities to monitor and track them.
Mr Onopika also said the affected communities are also waiting for results, following the successful Guns Summit in Goroka.
"People want the government to make public the findings, especially how it intends to address the guns problem in the country,"said Mr Onopika.