By JULIA DAIA BORE and GEEJAY MILLI
ONE of the 12 prisoners who escaped from the maximum security unit in Bomana on Jan 12 has been recaptured.
Oliver Ben Gabi was rushed to the St John Hospital in Gerehu for treatment after he was caught by police in the hills near Sogeri.
There was talk last night that police were closing in on fugitive William Kapris in a remote part of Central province, close to the Milne Bay border, but this could not be confirmed at the time of going to press.
Police Commissioner Gari Baki confirmed that his men had captured Gabi.
Mr Baki said police captured the escapee last Friday in the jungle near Sogeri Plateau, outside Port Moresby.
He said Gabi is of mixed Goroka and Tolai parentage but was raised in West New Britain.
However, according to information sent out by the Correctional Services soon after the jailbreak, Gabi is a remandee who comes from Dumbit village in Maprik, East Sepik province.
Mr Baki said Gabi was taken to a medical centre where he was under medical treatment for being “completely dehydrated” and in need of fluids. After some improvement to his condition, he was transferred by authorities to Bomana prison at 3pm yesterday.
Police said the recaptured prisoner was begging those attending to him for “hot soup” with garden vegetables when he was at the clinic.
Mr Baki said his men were combing the Sogeri Plateau and neighbouring Central province for the other prison escapees believed to be hiding in that area.
He said there were enough police personnel also in the city limits carrying out surveillance duties in the newly set up operation to recapture the 12 hardcore escapees.
Last Thursday, he said he had ordered his senior officers to set up a National Crime Coordination Centre (NCCC) at police headquarters in Konedobu from which all intelligence would be directed for follow-ups in the operation to recapture the 12 high-risk prisoners.
Mr Baki said the NCCC will be responsible for all intelligence-driven operations targeting escaped prisoners all over the country as well.
Another prison escapee, Peter Kuman Kaupa, from Simbu province, was recaptured by police after a tip-off on Friday, NCD Metropolitan Supt Fred Yakasa said last Friday.
Supt Yaskasa told The National that the escapee from an earlier prison break was caught along the Bisini Parade in Boroko, National Capital District.
Supt Yakasa also said that “a couple of female suspects have been identified and would be brought in for questioning,” when he was asked whether the police had any leads to the female “lawyer” who helped spring the 12 Bomana maximum security unit (MSU) prisoners on Jan 12.