. The criminals took hostages after they realized police had surrounded the building. Oro Governor Gary Juffa commended them for pursuing the criminals and not allowing them to get away.
Governor Juffa also thanked locals who assisted in apprehending four of the suspects who tried to escape on foot.
On Saturday morning February 5, six suspects held up a PMV bus at the Popondetta local market and drove up to town, where they held up the City Pharmacy outlet.
While they were robbing the shop, local police were alerted and quickly surrounded the building.
The Provincial Police Commander stated that upon exiting the shop with the stolen items, the robbers realized that police were already outside the building, and ran back inside. They then forcefully used the manager’s wife and child as human shields to escape police.
They walked out the shop with their hostages and got into the stolen bus and fled. Police gave chase and shot two in the abdomen. Police followed the bus to a house near town. The bus and hostages had been abandoned and the criminals escaped. The other four who managed to get away, were later apprehended by both police and locals.
Governor Juffa assured the public that police manpower will be boosted with resources and crimes of all types will be closely monitored in the province.
He said police in the province have been given vehicles and they should be fully operational without any excuses.
“We will do our best to assist police operations in the province and we expect the police units to reciprocate so we address law and order together,” he said.
Juffa also warned criminals and would be criminals to refrain from their bad habits and start thinking of doing something worthwhile in the province so the government can come in to assist them.
There is so much potential in the province yet young people are resorting to crime and unlawful activities only destroying their own future, he said.
Provincial Administrator Trevor Magei said the build-up of arms in the province was an issue that needs everyone’s attention.
“We have an open sea with betel nut trade taking place every day and the movement of people into and out of the province is a cause for concern,” he said.
Youths are also unearthing ammunitions and fire arms that have been disposed after the war such as carbines and are using them to commit crimes, he said.
This also poses a threat on the upcoming elections adding drastic measures were required to address law and order.
Mr Magei said police in the province should step up and fight crime head on as they have been and will be fully resourced.
He said a 10-men special mobile team from Port Moresby will be deployed into the province to specifically target crime spots and apprehend suspects without much hassle.