The people of Nuku in West Sepik were alarmed by a rare armed hold up at remote Nuku Station on Monday.
Provincial Police Commander for West Sepik Moses Ibsagi yesterday confirmed the incident.
“In actual fact there was hold up in a shop,” he said.
“They got some cash and goods.”
Ibsagi though said information was sketchy and he was collaborating with the neighboring East Sepik police command to assist investigate and prosecute the criminals.
He said the criminals went into Nuku and withdrew in a ten sitter Toyota Trooper but on their return potentially to East Sepik, villagers in Nuku stoned the vehicle, it ran off the road and crashed.
The villagers then torched the vehicle.
Citizen reports from Nuku were that shop owner resisted the criminals as well.
Communities along the Mai-Nuku Road that also connects to Wewak were alerted and they ambushed the criminals who after abandoning the vehicle escaped through the jungles between Mai and Monandin villages.
Ibsagi said apparently the torched vehicle belongs to the same owner whose vehicle was used during the robbery at Papindo in Aitape recently.
The vehicle was also torched by communities in Aitape when it was getting away to Wewak.
Ibsagi said his police officers in Nuku needed vehicle to police and respond to such crimes.
He also said logistics costs for his men to travel from Vanimo to Wewak, then to Nuku and return was quite expensive.
East Sepik Governor Allan Bird has issued a short statement on social media that it was time both police commands in East and West Sepik strategise and collaborate to stop these crimes.
“The holdup in Aitape last month was done by Sepiks who came from Lae due to the police crackdown there,” he said.
“Police suspect the hold up in Nuku is by the same group.”
He said police from Wewak would respond to a call from the provincial police commander in West Sepik (Vanimo) on the Nuku incident.
“I call on all Sepiks to report any suspicious actions of anyone who has recently come home. If they are involved in criminal activities I ask the community to report them to the police. Our police officers are doing their best. Let’s support them and clean up our community,” Bird said.
“If Sepiks coming from outside want to start a new life then make sure it is not a life of crime.”
“Let’s make our communities safe, be vigilant against all criminals who might be conducting their activities in our home.”