Papua New Guinea Police have identified two members of parliament and one former governor who are allegedly involved in the proliferation of firearms and ammunition in the Highlands.

The investigations into their alleged involvement comes as 18 men were arrested in the last nine weeks over their alleged involvement in the movement, selling and buying of over 6,000 firearms and ammunitions.

The 18 men are alleged to have been illegally selling the weapons and ammunitions throughout the Highlands region.

Of the 18 arrested, four have been convicted, two sentenced to one to 10 years in prison and the other two yet to be sentenced after being charged under the Firearms Act.

Investigation has implicated the involvement of one Minister, one MP and one former governor who are allegedly heavily involved in the selling and proliferation of firearms and ammunition in three different provinces.

Police are alleging a rise in illegal weapons and ammunitions trade in the Highlands region and particularly in Western Highlands and Jiwaka province, and not only the involvement of several politicians but also members of the disciplinary forces.

So far the joint special operations comprising police from Mt Hagen and Port Moresby and a unit from the PNGDF Reconnaissance Patrol unit are involved in the investigations.

According to information received, there is a surge in firearm associated offences, particularly ongoing violence and repeated tribal killings in volatile Highlands provinces.

The surge has given way to the demand for illegal weapons and ammunitions and there is now an ‘attractive’ illegal black market.

The black markets have now seen local organised crime syndicates conspiring, and benefiting from the illegal business at the cost of people’s lives.

The special operations have seen a drop in tribal killings and other weapon-related violence in Enga and Hela province.