25 Oct 2011

PNG police need more resources to hunt for kidnapper of scientists

11:21 am on 25 October 2011

Police in Papua New Guinea's West New Britain province are seeking national government support to allow them to continue the hunt for two female scientists they know are being held by pirates.

Tania Oakiva and Lydia Petrus were part of a team of five scientists from the Institute of Medical Research which disappeared nearly three months ago while travelling between villages on a banana boat.

The Post Courier reports the provincial police commander, Senior lnspector Thomas Reu, calling on the government to provide funding so it can pursue drug dealer and pirate, Don Aka, on the Talasea coast.

Police say Mr Aka, who is an associate of notorious convicted bank robber William Kapris, is the man holding both the scientists for ransom.

He is also wanted for questioning in relation to drug running, firearms, kidnap, piracy and murder.

Police are still trying to establish what has happened to the three male scientists, the two crew on the banana boat and another person.