Woman killed by crossfire in PNG shootout

11:34 am on 8 December 2018

A woman in Papua New Guinea has been killed by crossfire during a shootout between police and a gang in Milne Bay Province.

Rhoda Dick, 85, died in hospital after being hit by a stray bullet on Thursday while inside her house.

PNG police on patrol

PNG police on patrol Photo: AFP

The police said the gunfight, which lasted for over 30 minutes, broke out after the gang ambushed a police patrol in Alotau town.

The gang was positioned on top of a hill and used high powered weapons to attack the patrol.

Police reinforcements were dispatched, one of whom was wounded when a bullet grazed his forehead.

The police said it was believed the gang killed a policeman while robbing a supermarket in 2016, before allegedly kidnapping and killing a woman after robbing employees of an Alotau business in November 2017.

It's thought the gang, which is still at large, is led by Tommy Maiva Baker, who escaped from a Port Moresby hospital in October.

After the gunfight, four houses linked to the gang were burnt down by police, but no arrests were made.

Police returned to the scene on Friday and recovered a stolen vehicle.

The four man patrol that was ambushed was part of Port Moresby's Mobile Squad, who police said was deployed to Alotau to quell escalating crime.

The situation in Alotau is reportedly quiet but tense, as police continue to search for the gang.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs