3 Jun 2014

Vanuatu escapee hunt stepped up

12:30 pm on 3 June 2014

The Deputy Commissioner of Police in Vanuatu says the police operation hunting for two escaped prisoners has been stepped up after a deadline to surrender lapsed.

The pair were part of a group of seven who escaped last week, though five have since surrendered to police.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police says he had earlier warned the prisoners to surrender, saying if they didn't they would be hunted down by Vanuatu Mobile Officers and shot.

John Taleo says the police and the Vanuatu Mobile Officers now hope to capture the two inmates soon.

He says the public has reported sightings of the pair, and they are now combing those areas.

"They can hide, they can run, they can swim, they can fly, but at the end of the day, the law wins, and we [police] will get them."

Vanuatu's Deputy Commissioner of Police John Taleo says the chiefs of the villages the men belong to have also appealed for them to surrender.

About two years ago, a similar group of escapees was given time to surrender and while some did, one who did not was shot and killed.