Charged over 5 traders’ deaths

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POLICE in East Sepik say a 22-year-old male from Vokeo Island in East Sepik has been charged with five counts of murder.
The accused is an unemployed father of three from Dap village on Vokeo Island, which is part of the Schouten Islands Group.
He used to accommodate betel nut traders from Muschu and Kairiru Islands at his village.
According to police, the accused is believed to be a member of a sea piracy group that operated between Wewak and Manus seas between Sept 18, 2020 and Feb 25, 2021.
Between those dates, police believe the accused and his group murdered five betel nut traders from Muschu Island.
Police heard the accused had demanded that the five deceased buyers did business based on his arrangement and set a date for their next trip.
The five were allegedly murdered by the accused and his accomplices, police said.
The accused went into hiding since Feb 23, last year, the same date the five betel nut traders were reported missing.
It was not until last month (May 13) that the accused showed up in Wewak.
Police identified the five dead as Bobby Mukare Namis, Floyd Awun, Francis Awun, Cyril Charlie Kukuri and Henry John.
The accused had spread rumours that he had followed them, used a high powered gun to threaten and forced them to jump into the sea between Vokeo and Manus.
Provincial commander Supt Albert Beli said investigations were continuing more of the group.