Tuesday 13 June 2023
Police Commissioner David Manning says he will utilise all resources in a special operation to end the reign of terror armed criminals have had in the isolated border areas of the Southern Highlands, Hela and Western Provinces.
Mr Manning made this commitment following the release of the hostages from Walagu village who were held captive by armed criminals for over five days after a ransom of K2,000 and five pigs were paid by the villagers.
The hostages, all females, were released at around 2pm on Saturday afternoon.
“Upon their release, 11 victims were flown to Moro for medical checks, and further assisted by security forces and every effort is being made to ensure they have the support they require to get through this ordeal.
“The St Johns medical team was also moved by helicopter to Moro to assist with the medical checks of the victims.
“I thank all who have been involved in this security operation to release and to care for these women and girls.
“As to the criminals, we will be relentless, and I can assure the public that the release of the girls does not mean a peaceful resolution for the criminals who took them captive,” Mr Manning said.
“This sick criminal behaviour must be stopped and stamped out at all cost and we will not rest until we have done so. We commenced a joint security operation days after information was relayed of the kidnapping.”
A team comprising PNG Defence personnel, members of the Special Services Division and police investigators are now working around the clock to bring these criminals to justice and stop such evil actions from happening again.
After releasing the hostages, the suspects left the village and are being pursued by police and military personnel.
The Police Commissioner said the suspects had initially demanded K40,000 cash but accepted the payment and said they would return to collect the rest of the money.
Security forces are seeking support and cooperation from leaders at all levels, from the village, district, provincial and national level to deal with this threat.