Papua New Guinea police hope further interrogation of a recaptured prisoner will shed more light on the fate of five scientists who disappeared off West New Britain more than two years ago.
The prisoner, Don Aka, has told police that two women scientists that were in the group are still alive and are being held captive in remote mountainous areas of the province.
The deputy police commissioner, Simon Kauba, says they have little additional information and cannot say for certain that the women are alive.
He says they are questioning Aka, who is from West New Britain, about his whereabouts over the last two years or so.
"He knows the locality, the vegetation, everything else so the two female scientists may have been fed on shrubs and other local food in the area but this is very remote at this stage but from the questions that we are putting to him - he is not talking very much - but we are hoping he gives some valuable information out of that questioning."
The PNG deputy police commissioner, Simon Kauba