30 May 2012

Lack of funding hinders investigation into missing eight in PNG

7:33 am on 30 May 2012

The police commander in charge of the investigation into five scientists and three crew who went missing in August last year in Papua New Guinea says a lack of government funding has put the operation on hold.

The scientists from the Institute of Medical Research disappeared while travelling to an island off West New Britain - the banana boat and engine were later recovered hundreds of kilometres away near East Sepik province.

The provincial police commander Senior Inspector Samson Siguyaru says there is still a belief that the eight could have been abducted.

But Mr Siguyaru says he hasn't been able to deploy a team to travel to the isolated islands offshore from West New Britain to investigate further, despite funding being promised months ago.

"Those resources were supposed to be funded by our police headquarters. At the same time we have been assured by the national government to assist with the police operation however we have never received any funding."

Samson Siguyaru says the relatives of the missing are very upset about the lack of action.