Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Peter Guinness, said the suspects died in a shootout with police.
“These suspects were not locals but a gang of thugs living in settlements in town that are conducting robberies. Five of them met their fate,” he said over the weekend.
Guinness, who is also the Divisional Commander, said police at Wara Market, who were manning the road checks during the SoE, received intelligence last Friday that there was a planned robbery along the Nebiri Top and Naru section of the Madang Highway.
It was reported that the suspects were targeting PMVs travelling out of Madang.
In response, police went to Double Mountain and waited for those PMVs. When the first 15-seater PMV arrived, the passengers were transferred into police hired vehicles while police officers got into the bus and headed towards the hotspot.
Upon seeing the PMV bus, the suspects open fired without realising it was police.
Police retaliated and fired at the suspects, who then escaped towards Naru River whilst leaving some of their weapons behind.
Commander Guinness said the next day (May 16), a morning raid was conducted at Biribiri hamlet on suspected hideouts.
Gunshots were exchanged during that time, where the five suspects were wounded and eventually succumbed to their injuries.
Guinness said a number of weapons were retrieved, including factory made guns, staple guns and bush knives.
The bodies of the suspects are now at the Modilon Hospital Morgue.
Commander Guinness has warned suspects along Nebiri Top and Naru sections of the Madang Highway to be mindful of their unlawful deeds as police will continue to hunt them down. Travelling public along that part of the road should not be put at risk.
“This is a reminder to other suspects that police will continue to hunt them down. Police will continue to monitor the highway during the COVID-19 SoE period to make sure the highway is free from any hooligans.
“The Madang Highway is a national highway like any other national highways and at all times, must be free for the travelling public to use it.”
Provincial Police Commander (PPC) of Madang, Senior Inspector Rubiang Mazuc, appealed to the communities of Nebiri Top, Naru and Biribiri to assist police by locating the other suspects who had fled from the robbery shootout.