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By Miriam Zarriga in Port Moresby

Three Papua New Guineans have been killed and another man is recovering in hospital after 16 armed bandits ambushed a vehicle they were travelling in with a priest and others in West Sepik.

Provincial police commander Chief Inspector Moses Ibsagi said two men were shot at point blank range in front of the passengers when they tried to resist the attack on Monday.

Two died on the spot after being shot in the head.

The third man died in hospital later from knife wounds.

“The passengers, including a Catholic priest and three teachers, were on their way from Nuku in West Sepik to Maprik in East Sepik when the 16 men held up the vehicle,” he said.

The incident happened along the Sepik Highway at Wamarau in West Sepik at around 3pm on Monday.

Police are looking for the 16 bandits on the run.

Ibsagi said they were trying to get more information on the attack.

He was told by the Nuku police station commander that the passengers were robbed of all their possessions.

“The passengers were travelling to Maprik for their daily shopping and sale of vanilla,” he said.

“As they came near a village called Wamarau, the 16 men stopped the vehicle and held up the passengers and crew members.

“The thugs were armed with guns and bush knives.

“During a struggle, the two men were shot on the head and died instantly.

“Two passengers received knife wounds.

“One of them succumbed to his wound at the Maprik hospital.

“The other is recovering.”

The National newspaper articles are republished by the Pacific Media Centre with permission.

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