The deceased (identified), from Kabakaul, Kokopo, was allegedly part of a 5-man group that robbed a mobile phone shop on Saturday, according to provincial police commander Joseph Tabali.
“Five armed suspects held up a taxi driver and directed him to the Zero Mobile Shop, where one of them stayed with him while the other four went inside,” PPC Tabali tells Loop PNG.
While the customers were ordered to lie flat on the floor, the men held up the shop owner and gathered all mobile phones, tablets and battery chargers into a bag, then tried to escape.
“Police intercepted and followed the vehicle along the Koivoivo St in Kokopo where there was an exchange of gunshots,” says PPC Tabali. “This was in broad daylight, at around 12pm.”
During the process, the police unmarked vehicle’s rearview mirror was smashed. In retaliation, one of the suspects was shot.
“The suspects’ vehicle overturned at Gumur, Skowhegan, where the four suspects decamped while the wounded one was left behind with the driver.
“With the assistance of villagers, the two men were apprehended.
“We recovered four home-made guns; two loaded with ammunition, including four bush knives.”
PPC Tabali says the driver of the vehicle was detained at the Kokopo Police Station cells along with the injured suspect.
“Some hours later, the suspect died in the police cell.
“His body is currently at the Nonga hospital morgue. We are waiting for the report from the post-mortem,” he states.
The other four suspects, believed to be wounded as well, are still at large.
“I’m appealing to the people in the province to keep an eye out for them, including the health centres. If they come in to get treatment, advise police as soon as possible.”
The deceased, who was 34 years old, was identified by his relatives on Monday.
(Loop file pic)