By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
COMMUNITY leaders are surrendering sea piracy suspects in Milne Bay, with two handed to police on Repentance Day and another seven expected to be brought in tomorrow, police say.
They believe it was a result of police stepping up operations in hotspots, police commander Supt Peter Barkie said.
“Lamahaga ward councillor in the Huhu local level government brought in two suspects on national Repentance Day and another councillor from that same LLG will bring in seven suspects on Thursday, Supt Barkie said.
“Community leaders are also bringing in dinghies and outboard motor engines that were stolen from the victims of sea piracy.
“And for three weeks now, there have been no piracy incident which is unusual. Piracy incidents have been rife since 2009.”
Supt Barkie said members of the Alotau police taskforce were placed in strategic areas in the Alotau district and in the Samarai-Murua electorate.
“These are the hotspots for piracy. Because of that police presence, we were able to control the sea lanes and for three weeks now we haven’t received any sea piracy reports.
“But we are harassing, and impounding stolen dinghies and outboard motor engines. So now the tables have turned. Instead of them (pirates) holding up the public, the public is holding them and surrendering them to the police.”
Supt Barkie said stolen dinghies and outboard motor engines were being kept in the police station at Alotau.
“Owners of these assets are coming and getting them with proper documents.”
Supt Barkie said over the past three weeks communities have fought with suspected pirates and brought them to police.
Tupumadau village in the Huhu LLG killed a suspect when his gang of more than 10 robbed a trade store at about 7am on Aug 18.
The rest of the gang fled. The deceased is from Awayama village in the Maramatana LLG area in Alotau district.
“Also Daio villagers in the Huhu LLG arrested a suspected pirate early last month and handed him over to police after his gang attempted to steal a dinghy in their village in the Alotau district.”
By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK