Alotau compound burns

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By HELEN TARAWA and MARJORIE FINKEO
ALOTAU MP and Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel has appealed to thugs allegedly involved in violence resulting in a woman’s death to give themselves up to police.
The woman, identified as Rhoda Dick, 85, of Suau, was shot during an exchange of fire between police and armed criminals.
She was inside a house.
The exchange of fire which lasted over 30 minutes began after criminals ambushed a police patrol at Garuboi in Alotau town. Abel blamed the recent spate of violence on “a certain prison escapee”.
“All these incidents relate to a certain prison escapee.
He has been captured three times and escaped three times.
He and a group of heavily armed friends continue to terrorise the public in Milne Bay causing death and mayhem,” he said.
Police believe that escapee Tommy Baker Maeva was behind the spate of violence.
Abel said acting provincial police commander Inspector George Bayagau had requested for support through the Police Commissioner and additional manpower had been deployed.
“There will also be additional operations over the Christmas period,” he said.
“I appeal to the police to exercise due care at all times when going about their duties so as not to cause unnecessary harm to innocent bystanders.
“I ask the community to do their part as well as law and order is a joint effort.
“There are many good things happening in Milne Bay and we cannot let some selfish individuals destroy the peace and progress for the majority.”
Police said 20 homes were burnt. Bayagau said five armed men had held up a company vehicle from a woman at Boboa Store in Alotau town and drove to Kitava compound. Police went after them into the compound.
The five ran into two houses to hide.
The owners of the houses were forced to come out after police burned down the houses.
“The houses were close to each other that fire quickly continued to other houses and burnt down others as well,” Bayagau said.

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