POLICE have widened their hunt for notorious criminal Patrick Sira and his gang in Kainantu, Eastern Highlands province.
A special police operation is underway in the Aiyura valley to hunt down this escapee wanted for a string of crimes in the area.
Provincial police commander Chief Supt Augustine Wampe said Sira and his gang held up a police patrol in Aiyura on Aug 11, and stole two hig-powered weapons, before ambushing and killing four people in Ukarumpa village.
At least 76 homes were razed in the attack.
Chief Supt Wampe said an elderly woman and a young boy were among those killed by the gang.
One of the weapons stolen was later recovered by police.
The gang also allegedly shot at a light aircraft as it was approaching the Aiyura airstrip to land, but despite having a bullet piercing its fuselage, the plane landed safely, the police chief said.
Two Highlands-based police mobile unit were deployed in the area to help track down the gang.
This week, three men were arrested in Lae, and Chief Supt Wampe said they might be linked to the spate of violence and crime in Aiyura.
They were transported to Yonki police station where they are being held for questioning.
Chief Supt Wampe appealed to the public for information that can lead to the arrest of Sira and his gang. The numbers to call are 7373583 and 7321764.
A reward of K1,000 will be given to any person who provides useful information that leads to the arrest of the gang.