Search for the three armed men with ski-masks who took off with more than $200,000 after raiding BSP bank Auki intensifies whilst lead behind their escape route is made known.
A police source said the masked men made their way into the bush after their getaway car tyre punctured.
They were last seen at Gwouno’a village some 14 kilometres north of Auki and headed into the jungle when abandoning the Rav-4.
The dramatic escape of the robbers started from BSP lawn after they walked out of the bank.
Eye-witnesses said two were seated in front, the driver and one holding onto the gun and the third in the back seat with the sack of cash as they made a u-turn for the main road.
“They fired a second shot towards a lone police officer who attempted to confront them near the road them but they missed,” the witnesses say.
“They drove up but took a swift turn at Auki motel upon seeing police blocking the road with empty drums.
“They instead took the higher lane to avoid bumping and speed off towards the North-East road,” the witnesses said.
Villagers residing along the road starting from Gwounaru’u to Buma said that the car was traveling at a high speed.
That moment no police vehicle was in pursuit of the alleged robbers.
Police were unarmed to keep the robbers at bay and chasing.
An eye-witness from Buma said, he was walking along the road and jumped off road when the Rav-4 veered off nearly hitting him.
He said the robbers then hit a culvert edge that moment upon seeing a police vehicle approaching them from the opposite direction.
“Their tyre punctured during the hit, yet they manage to speed off again with the tyre rims clinging along the upgraded road.”
Police later revealed the vehicle was on its way down from Atori but was unable to keep track of suspects as well.
A police officer said, he and few others are brave enough to go after the masked men some 20 minutes after.
“We believe that they will drop somewhere along the way so we keep a long short distance from behind with our vehicle.”
Police said the robbers made a stop near Gwouno’a and ordered a grader operator who did maintenance work that time to block the road.
“They gun-point the operator then ordered him to steer the heavy machine blocking the way.”
“They also took off with the key leaving the road behind blocked,” police claimed.
Police said, the Rav-4 came to a stop along the Gwouno’a road.
“We believe the punctured tyre cannot take them further down so they opted to go on foot.”
Village reports from Gwouno’a claimed the three armed men after abandoning the car made it to the bush.
“They met a woman and asked her the direction leading up into the hills which she complied.”
“That moment they were still wearing the masks and military style clothes,” the villagers said.
From this point the direction they were heading is unknown.
Meanwhile the man hunt is live and going since weekend says a police source.
RAMSI military have been engaged to help out.
RSIPF say that members of the public who spot these three men are advised not to approach them but call the police immediately on 23666 or Auki Police Station on 40132.
Also anyone with information about this matter is also urged to contact the police as soon as possible.
By TEDDY KAFO