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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, March 14) - Hardcore criminals wanted for very serious crimes in various parts of the country are now using Bougainville as a safe haven.

These criminals have been coming into Buka as passengers on the ships finding the place ideal as the locals were not interested in them.

The startling revelation was made yesterday in Buka by a former disciplined force officer who asked to be called Vigilant for identification purposes.

Bougainville police when queried if they had known about the criminals said they were unaware of the movement of these wanted men into Bougainville. Police chief Joseph Bemu said if this was true, they were completely in the dark and would need the help of the public to get these criminal elements out of the island.

Vigilant said a number of criminals have been coming since last year and some of them are now living in Buka.

He has personally seen, identified and even talked to some of them.

"These men are here…I know a lot of them from where I worked and the thing I am worried about right now is that they might influence a lot of our youths here … they can carry out armed robberies," he said. "I think they run here because Buka is a place where it is not much associated with heavy criminal activities."

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