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June 17, 2021
Featured Islands News

Witnesses refuse testifying for Six lost at Sea

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The closure to the Coroner Inquiry of the missing six people in East New Britain hinges on two key witnesses who have refused to cooperate with the police.

Chief coroner, Bruce Tasikul said the two witnesses accounts will determine how the six people went missing, and also brings a closure to this 5-year-old mystery.

The coroner inquiry was initiated in June this year to find answers to the mysterious disappearance and bring peace to their families.

The six men include four public servants and two boat crews, who vanished at sea while returning to Kokopo from Pomio in January 2013.

Mr. Tasikul said it is too early to say, if the six people were massacred at sea or they drowned.

“ I cannot say if the six men had drowned or were killed. We are counting on the two witnesses to come forward and clarify to us. But for now, they refused to work with the police”, Mr. Tasikul said.

But he said, there is a theory that the inquiry needs to prove based on two witnesses accounts, a woman and a man whom the inquiry is aware they have seen the bodies of the six men brought to shore and buried by their killers.

Police believed the alleged attack of the six men may have taken place along the South Coast of Pomio district.

It has been five years and so far, their disappearance had left no clues for the police to investigate.

Meanwhile, another body was exhumed from a village grave on Nissan Island in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville after it was drifting at sea.

The villagers retrieved the body from the water and buried it.

The inquiry believes the body was one of the six who went missing.

The body was found a few weeks after the six were reported missing at sea.

Mr. Tasikul said they have names of suspects relating to the alleged killing but unless the two key witnesses testify, they cannot make any arrests or make any rulings if the six men were actually murdered.

In January 2013, the six men, comprising four public servants and two boat operators were returning to Kokopo from Pomio on official duties.

The six men did not make it back home.

A search and rescue was established a few days later but could not find anything.

In June this year after numerous calls from the provincial government and the families of the missing people, the coroner inquiry was initiated to investigate their disappearance.

Mr. Tasikul said he will issue a warrant of arrest for the two witnesses if they failed to respond to the inquiry.

The inquiry is expected to reach a conclusion by next Thursday and a public statement made on how the six people actually vanished.

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