Reports of PNG hostage drama not so
Police in Papua New Guinea have confirmed that a suspected hostage situation in Alotau in Milne Bay Province was a false alarm.
The police in Papua New Guinea say they're hunting down a gang believed to have killed a police officer in Alotau on Saturday.
Tensions in the small tourist town in Milne Bay province remain high after reports of a hostage situation on Monday
The Provincial Police commander for Milne Bay Joseph Morehari says the police were responding to reports of a robbery at the PNG Airlines ticketing office but found it locked with staff still inside the building.
He told Koroi Hawkins it was not a hostage situation at all but the incident was due to a breakdown in communication.
PPC Morehari has today further condemned false information being spread on social media that 5 men were killed in the incident and another arrested.
JOSEPH MOREHARI:The incident which happened this morning was minor but the situation was made drastic because people in the building locked themselves in and we thought they were in a hostage situation, but it was not a hostage situation but it looked like a hostage situation.
KOROI HAWKINS: So there was an initial robbery and cash was taken by people but they'd already left by the time police got there?
JM: Correct yes.
KH: And there were no tourists? This was at the Papua New Guinea airline office? is that right?
JM: No no no no, no tourists were involved in this, the main town centre was blocked off so the tourists were not involved and we made sure they were not part of the problem.
KH: There were also some reports that the robbery today was related to Saturday's incident, is there any link at all?
JM: Ah, I don't think so, but I guess because of Saturday's incident some criminal elements took advantage of the situation to make the town come to a stand still.
KH: So today, no one was hurt, everyone's ok, everyone's safe?
JM: Yep, nobody is hurt, everybody is safe, after police went and double-checked through the whole building.
KH: Is there anything you'd like to say for the international community, for tourists, tour ship operators in terms of the safety of Alotau?
JM: I would say that Milne Bay is safe but we have a gang in town that we need to remove first before everything can go back to normal. These are cop killers so we're hunting them now, we've got special units here from Port Moresby to assist us to track these people down.
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