2 Baker men shot dead

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Locals and Alotau CID officers bringing down the remains of the two Baker Gang members shot dead by police down from the mountains of Gudugudu Babana. – Picture supplied

POLICE rescued a 13-year-old girl and shot dead two of Tommy Baker’s gang members in a gun battle on the mountains of Gudugudu Babana in Milne Bay’s Alotau on June 7. The minor was abducted from Alia village, held captive and repeatedly raped by the gang members for about a week. This brings the number of Baker’s gangsters arrested or shot dead, since they attacked the police and burnt down police barracks on April 30, to 45. The police are in the midst of an ongoing 60-day manhunt for 25 gang members who are on the run and hiding. The manhunt is estimated to cost K2.2 million, the costliest ever for criminals in Papua New Guinea. The police team, comprising Special Services Division and the Major Investigation Taskforce, have tightened the dragnet on three gang leaders – Michael ‘Mekere’ Yawi, Eugene Takalasi and Baker himself. The tightening of the dragnet resulted in the gunfight between police and Baker’s gang. This year, police have shot dead five gang members. In total, 19 suspects are now behind bars in Giligili Prison since the April 30 attack on the police by the Baker Gang. Fifty homemade guns have been seized from the gang since the start of the 60-day manhunt in Alotau. The operations have been slow with no funding available for the policemen who are working to bring back some sort of normalcy in Alotau. The men, identified as “Mero” and “Samuel”, were part of the gang members who attacked Port Moresby and Alotau police on April 30. After the April 30 attack, the duo with a number of men hid on the mountains of Gudugudu Babana in the Gwavili ward. According to police, after arriving at the mountains and setting up camp, the gang members went into Alia village and abducted a 13-year-old girl. The girl was raped for days after she was taken hostage by the gang. A week later, the girl was hungry and escaped from her captors and managed to make it half way down the mountain when “Mero” caught up with her. They went to the girl’s family home. The father, knowing what would happen if he did anything, gave food and water, praying for his daughter’s safety. After they left, word was sent to the police, who after a hike up the mountains, found the gang members’ hideout camp. The gang members opened fire at the policemen. “Samuel” was shot as he was trying to run down the hill. “Mero” was shot as he tried to get dressed. The minor was rescued by police and the two bodies were taken down the mountains. Police crime director Chief Insp Joel Simatab confirmed with The National that the shooting and killing of the two gang members.