More PNG police deployed to unrest-plagued Alotau

5:10 pm on 10 December 2018

Additional police are being deployed to the capital of Papua New Guinea's Milne Bay province to respond to ongoing unrest.

Papua New Guinea police.

Papua New Guinea police. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

This comes as the police mobile squad burnt 17 houses at Alotau's Kitava settlement last week.

Police accused members of the Kitava community of harbouring a gang, who the police said was behind an armed robbery hours earlier.

In a gunfight between the police and the gang on Thursday, an elderly woman was shot and killed.

The Alotau MP, PNG's deputy prime minister Charles Abel, said this and a number of other recent instances of unrest in Alotau related to prison escapee Tommy Maiva Baker who Mr Abel said had been terrorising the public.

Provincial police requested support through the Police Commissioner and additional manpower has been provided for the upcoming Christmas period, Mr Abel said.

The MP appealed to the gang to "think about the harm they are doing to innocent lives and to Alotau and Milne Bay in general".

They should lay down their arms and surrender through local church leaders to the police, who the deputy PM also called on to be careful.

"I appeal to the police to exercise due care at all times when going about there duties so as not to cause unnecessary harm to innocent bystanders," Mr Abel said.