Notorious Papua New Guinea prison escapee Tommy Baker is thought to have been wounded in a shootout with police.
The Post Courier reported two of Baker's followers were killed in the shootout near Alotau on Tuesday at about 10am but their leader escaped.
For months, police have been unable to capture Baker, who is linked to a string of armed robberies, piracy and murder.
Milne Bay's provincial police commander, George Bayagau, said several of Baker's followers, who were packing highpowered weapons and body armour, were arrested during a raid at Maiwara village on Friday.
He said that led police to a settlement known as Daga compound where the shootout took.
Mr Bayagau said two fully armed men were shot dead, while another suffered a serious chest wound but was able to escape.
It's not clear if this was Baker.
He said police were closing in on Baker, his second-in-command, Michael Mekere, and about 30 of their followers.
Police have arrested 12 suspects since a special operation to catch Baker was started three weeks ago, Mr Bayagoa said.
Two men, police believe are on the run with Baker, reportedly have had tracking devices inserted in their bodies.