gold hunt

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    DIVERS are in the army/police contingent attempting to find out if the Government indeed has a massive windfall from a claimed wartime gold cache.
    The divers were included in the combined force sent to the remote west coast of New Ireland last week following a submission to the National Executive Council.
    The submission supported the claims of a man who said he had discovered a cave cache of gold, allegedly mined and processed during World War II by Japanese forces.
    Some leaders in New Ireland yesterday voiced scepticism about the claims, saying it had taken nearly 60 years for the claims to surface.
    New Ireland Governor Ian Ling-Stuckey last night called on the National Government to make a detailed statement on the situation.
    He urged people not to get excited about the issue, saying he did not believe such a large amount of gold bullion existed in New Ireland. “If it did, other greedy leaders in the past would have grabbed it already,’’ he said.
    He told nursing students at Lemakot, 60km south of Kavieng, that if the rumoured gold was found, none of it would be taken out of the province by anybody. No agreements would be entertained without proper consultation and endorsement by the provincial government.
    He was concerned his office was being inundated with ordinary villagers expecting the gold bullion would be distributed to all villages in the province and even making threats to “throw out the army and outsiders wishing to exploit the situation’’.
    The NEC is reportedly anxious to determine if the claims are true, as they would greatly assist the Government’s current funding crisis.
    Among details of the claims emerging are allegations that some of the gold sank to the bottom of a bay when a submarine, supposedly taking the gold away, was bombed by a passing US aircraft. 
    The Government and Defence Force leaders would not comment on the allegations yesterday. 
    The joint force is split into two camps, one at Dalom on the east coast, from where a military helicopter has been flying sorties into the mountains where the claimed cache of gold is supposed to be. The other is at Kalili on the west coast. 
    There, according to villagers, the military men have set up camp with a lot of digging tools and are keeping strict security, fending off curious villagers and refusing to talk to them.
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