By Edwin Fidelis – EMTV News, Kokopo
The peaceful towns of Kokopo and Rabaul have experienced an upsurge in armed robberies in recent weeks.
The most recent was last Friday, where four armed men were intercepted and gunned down by police in a failed robbery.
Following last Friday’s incident, East New Britain Police boss, Snr. Inspector Joseph Tabali, has sent a strong warning to criminals to stop armed robberies, as the consequences will be severe.
Pictures posted on social media by witnesses showed the gun fight between criminals and police in a recent failed armed robbery in Rabaul town.
At 10am last Friday, four men were dropped off by a vehicle at the Garden Enterprise Supermarket.
They were in possession of the two homemade guns.
According to police, the men were distracted by a police patrol just as they were entering the shop.
The four men retaliated and started firing at the police.
The confrontation lasted for a few minutes leaving two of them dead, and two others wounded and hospitalised.
The police believe all four men are of East New Britain origin.
In the hours after the incident, the head of East New Britain police, Senior Inspector Joseph Tabali, sent a strong message to criminals, warning them to stop armed robberies, or accept the consequences.
Friday’s failed robbery came a month following a series of armed hold-ups that hit the town of Kokopo.
The once peaceful town is seeing an upsurge in serious crimes, particularly armed robbery.
All eyes are now on the police to curb the crime spike.
Last Friday’s incident is not the first, and it will not be the last.
The police described it as deadly, ruthless and for the robbers, a very unfortunate ending.
It’s not known if there’s a larger group behind the robbers, but the police believe there are other similar gangs that are ready to strike anytime – but the question is when and where?