A police officer in Papua New Guinea's Milne Bay town of Alotau has been shot dead by armed robbers.
The Post Courier reported provincial police commander Chief Superintendent Joseph Morehare confirmed the officer was shot as he approached the men who had broken in to a store.
Mr Morehare said the nine men were heavily armed.
They escaped in a 19-foot banana boat, powered by a 75-horsepower motor towards Bubuleta village.
Alotau MP and National Planning Minister Charles Abel condemned the attack during an interview with the National Broadcasting Corporation.
He said he would purchase two dinghies and have a helicopter on standby for rapid response.
The town was preparing to host the P&O cruise liner Pacific Aria on a 10-hour stopover.
Small boats and dinghies travelling to and out of Alotau have been targeted by pirates in recent years but authorities could not say if there is a link.