29 Aug 2011

Missing PNG scientists boat found intact, piracy concerns grow

4:56 pm on 29 August 2011

There are more indications a group of medical scientists in Papua New Guinea, missing for four weeks, has been abducted.

The five scientists from the PNG Institute of Medical Research and three crew disappeared while travelling to an island off West New Britain on August the 1st.

Their seven metre banana boat has been found on a island in distant East Sepik province and the Institute's director, professor Peter Siba, says the fact it was intact is suspicious.

Police have already raised concerns that the group are victims of pirates and professor Siba says they think the scientists may be hostages.

"People are not coming up, being honest with information, are fearful of their own lives that they are not providing the right information to police, but there's information circulating in West New Britain that our staff had been sighted with these villians and they are take them around with boat rides, [to] escape, going from place to place."

Professor Peter Siba of the PNG Institute of Medical Research.

The scientists were conducting studies into malaria.