By JUNIOR UKAHA
AN escape attempt by a gang turned fatal when police shot dead one of them and injured others near Lae on Friday.
The incident happened at around 5pm at Situm in the Nabak local-level government area in an otherwise peaceful Lae over the New Year weekend.
The gang had held up occupants of a vehicle with a gun, removed their belongings, and escaped with the vehicle close to the Second Seven Dump at Lae’s notorious Back Road area.
Lae Metropolitan Superintendent Anthony Wagambie Jr, pictured, said criminals took the vehicle and escaped towards Bumayong and later headed for Situm.
He said police responded after receiving information through the toll-free number.
“Police received information of this through our toll-free number immediately after the robbery took place,” Wagambie said.
“A Mobile Squad 13 unit patrolling Situm Road, intercepted the gang close to Situm as they were getting away,” he said.
“Police engaged in a shootout with the gang resulting in one of the gangsters being killed.
“Several others are believed to have received serious gunshot wounds.
“They fled from the stolen motor vehicle into the bush.”
Wagambie said the stolen vehicle was recovered and brought back to Lae Police Station and the body of the deceased was transported to Angau Memorial Hospital. Wagambie said a loaded homemade gun and a knife used by the gang were also found.
Wagambie warned criminals that police would not be not be easy on them if they chose to terrorise and steal from residents.
He appealed to people living along Situm Road to be on alert.
“We appeal to people living along the Situm Road to be alert as the wounded criminals are armed and dangerous.”
Apart from the shooting incident, Wagambie said only a few minor incidents were reported in the city.
He said similar to the Christmas period, effective policing strategies resulted in no major law and order problems in the city.
Wagambie said police conducted random roadblocks, vehicle checks, foot-beat and motorised patrols.
He said neighbourhood watch groups assisted police to maintain peace in their respective communities.
A full strength of about 400 police personnel from all sections were on duty during Christmas and New Year. “For the first time, we have not experienced any road blocks, burning of wrecked vehicles or tyres on the main roads,” Wagambie said.
By JUNIOR UKAHA