Baker manhunt continues

Main Stories
Crimes Director Chief Insp
Joel Simatab

ANOTHER five Tommy Maeva Baker gang members have been arrested in Alotau bringing the total number of suspects nabbed since the April 29 burning down of police barracks and six-hour-long running gun battle to 32.
Police also seized a glock pistol from one of the five picked up over the weekend.
Crimes director Chief Insp Joel Simatab told The National that investigations into the Baker gang attack on the police continued as the manhunt for the rest of the gang members – about 40 of them – on the run intensified.
He said the five were now being interrogated and police were also trying to determine the owner of the pistol.
“The five men are not only being investigated as part of the Tommy Maeva Baker gang but are also being probed for various crimes in Milne Bay,” he said.
“We believe the gang had over time influenced youths and other prominent citizens in Alotau to accept their existence by harbouring and accepting their criminal conduct.”
Chief Insp Simatab said: “By doing so, Tommy Baker has staged a dangerous ‘movement’ and ‘following’ and is no longer a common criminal.
“We will try to deal with him swiftly.
“Unlike previous deployments, this deployment will be to arrest all the gang members, including Tommy Baker.”
He said police investigators sent to Alotau had been told to not only look for the gang but also look into other cases involving the gang.
“We want to bring confidence back to the people of Alotau that police are here to assist and to allow them to see that they can come to us with their tips in relation to any of the cases the team is investigating,” he said.
Police last week arrested and charged Baker’s mother Lorinda Kauma, aunt Agnes Miro and uncle Maya Magumagu at the Musa Settlement in Alotau with harbouring.
Meanwhile, 10 prison wardens from Port Moresby have been sent to beef up security at Giligili Prison where Baker’s 12 gang members were being held.
Correctional Services commissioner Stephen Pokanis said: “The deployment was in response to strong rumours that Tommy Baker is planning to raid the prison to free his members. We are not taking the rumours lightly because Tommy Baker had escaped twice from Giligili prison and once from Bomana prison in Port Moresby.
“So our wardens were deployed on Sunday.
“We have 49 wardens in Giligili guarding 280 prisoners.
“The wardens have been instructed not to use heavy-handed tactics on the surrounding communities to collect intelligence report on Tommy Baker’s movement and plans.
“I have instructed them to be more diplomatic in dealing with the communities.”