Police confirm gun confrontation by prisoner
The Vanuatu Police Force (VPF) has confirmed that prison escapee Moses Kilton was shot in self-defense by members of the police search party but he was dead on arrival at the Vila Central Hospital (VCH). The Minister of Internal Affairs responsible for the police said the Executive of the VPF lead by Acting Commissioner of Police Arthur Caulton visited him Friday morning and brief him on the circumstances surrounding the incident.
He said the police report on the death of Kilton said at about 9am. Thursday morning a police search party, following intelligence report, approached the prison escapee at Tamate village above Klem’s Hill on top of Melemaat village outside of Port Vila.
“Moses Kilton was in possession of a .22 rifle and was aiming it at the approaching police team. The reaction of the police was to open fire on the man in self-defense,” the police report to the minister continued.
“When he fell, the police rushed to him, disarmed him and found that he had six rounds in the rifle’s magazine and one round in the chamber.”
After the police cleared the weapon they rushed the prisoner to the VCH but 20 minutes after the incident took place the inmate was dead on arrival at the hospital, the police report said.
Minister Wells said the operation he ordered almost two months ago to recapture seven high risk prison escapees was being suspended for a while after this incident is cleared before resuming for two remaining prisoners still at large following intelligence reports of their whereabouts. He added that his order for use of firearms by the police in the search to recapture the remaining escapees will also still be in effect. At the same time, the Minister said an appeal would again go out to the two last prisoners still on the run on Efate, Jacky Saul and Paul Shem, to surrender to the police before this unfortunate situation was repeated.
Meanwhile, Acting Commissioner of Police, Arthur Caulton has lodged an appeal for the two remaining prisoners on Efate and one on Malekula to surrender to police or any local authority near them.
This appeal comes after the police confirmed the death of prisoner Moses Kilton.
In a statement about the events leading to the recapture and death of Kilton, the Office of the Commissioner stated that late prisoner, Moses Kilton, was at his hideout at Tamate area, on the plateau above Melemaat village when members of the Force surrounded the area.
“Upon approaching the said site, they were confronted by late Moses Kilton aiming at them with a .22 rifle.
“It was then that the Force members opened fire at him which eventually got to his recapture.
“Upon arresting him they discovered that late Moses Kilton needed urgent medical attention.
“He was then taken to the Port Vila Central Hospital where he unfortunately died.
“The .22 shot gun used by late Moses Kilton was discovered to have a magazine with 6 rounds with a round in the chamber, is being kept by the force as evidence to this incident and further investigation.
“The Minister of Internal Affairs and relevant authorities has been formally informed of this matter.
“On behalf of the members of the Vanuatu Police Force, Acting Commissioner of Police and members of the VPF executive would like to convey their sincere condolence to the immediate families of late Moses Kilton for this tragic incident.
“The Police operation to recapture the remaining 3 prisoners namely Jacky Saul and Paul Shem in Port Vila and Andre Ringau on Malekula will still continue.
“The office of the Acting Commissioner of Police is appealing to the public and their immediate family members to urge them to immediately surrender to the VPF or a local authority for their immediate return to lawful custody,” the statement from the office of the Police Commissioner stated.