By GYNNIE KERO
FIVE men died in a shootout with police in Madang on Saturday after they tried to hold up a bus police officers were travelling in on the Lae-Madang highway.
Madang commander acting Supt Mazuc Rubiang said police were tipped off of the planned hold-up of the bus, and they boarded it before hand, pretending to be passengers.
Four bodies were taken to the Modilon Hospital while the fifth was buried at the site of the shooting. Other members of the group fled the scene during the shooting.
Rubiang said the men were believed to be from Madang town and had been involved in a lot of robberies on the main highway.
He said many passengers and drivers had been victims to the highway robberies.
“(Police) received intelligence of a planned armed holdup of buses travelling from Madang, between Negeri and Naru (Madang-Lae highway),” he said.
“Acting on that, officers travelled to Double Mountain and waited for the buses.
“At about 12pm, the first bus arrived and all passengers were offloaded onto a police vehicle.
“Five policemen disguised as passengers then got on the bus.
“When nearing the location of the planned holdup, (the officers) sighted someone coming out of the bush and then going back again.
“About 50 meters from the location, about three armed gunmen came out and opened fire on the bus.
“Police returned fire and shot the (five) criminals.”
Rubiang said some men fled leaving behind a gun and a mobile phone.
“It is believed that some (were wounded) and escaped towards the Naru river,” he said.
“ They were pursued. At this moment we are monitoring the area.”
He said “enough is enough” and warned criminals to stop what they were doing.
By GYNNIE KERO