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By Andres Alphonse

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 26) - There is a heavy police presence in Tari, Southern Highlands following the recent shooting of notorious gang leader David Agini and his two accomplices.

Provincial Police Commander Superintendent Simon Nigi said 20 policemen from the mobile squad six in Mt Hagen were deployed to Tari to join another 20 men from Port Moresby’s mobile squad two.

Mr Nigi said a third section of the Port Moresby mobile squad led by commander Inspector Tinga will fly to Tari shortly.

"There will be about 50 policemen on the ground in Tari to monitor the situation for an indefinite period," Mr Nigi said.

Mr Nigi said that while the situation in Tari was quiet, police are alert in case Agini’s relatives take revenge on innocent citizens.

He said the police strength was beefed up as there were serious threats made to local police and district administrations by Agini sympathisers.

Mr Nigi said his men would not be intimidated from doing their constitutional duties because of the threats.

"We will remain focussed and do our constitutional duties without fear or favour," Mr Nigi said.

Police shot dead Agini and two of his accomplices during a shoot out along the Koroba and Tari highway two weeks ago.

Police pursued the gang after they stole two vehicles and took them into the rugged mountains of Lake Kopiago. 

Police reported that upon seeing the police vehicles approaching, Agini’s gang opened fire.

Police returned fire, resulting in the deaths. 

Mr Nigi said one of the gang members was also seriously wounded but escaped with high-powered weapons. 

He said two police issue guns that were stolen from the Enopi barracks in Tari last September were recovered in the shoot-out.

Meanwhile, Mr Nigi said that an arrangement for the much talked-about permanent mobile squad for Tari has been delayed due to lack of furniture and vehicles for the Enopi barracks.

April 27, 2004

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