[Originally published in the Vanuatu Daily Post’s Weekender Edition.]
Shortly before noon on Sunday, March 29, two Toyota pickup trucks arrived at a Malapoa residence occupied by 21 year old escaped convict John Bule, his girlfriend and their daughter, aged less than 2. Several men in plain clothes dismounted and entered the house in search of Bule.
Loud voices were heard from within the house, and 3 shots were fired, apparently as a warning. Nobody was hurt. Shortly afterward, John and his girlfriend were escorted from the house, their hands bound behind their back. They were placed together in the back of one truck and driven to the VMF barracks.
The girlfriend later recalled that she pleaded with those holding her to be allowed to return to her home and her daughter. She told them she’d done nothing wrong.
As she pled with them, she says, she heard her boyfriend John crying out in pain in an adjacent room.
Shortly before 2:00 p.m. that same day, authorities brought John Bule to Vila Central Hospital for treatment of wounds to both legs, both arms, his ribs, back and head, which had multiple lacerations, including a gash above his left eye about 10 cm. long and 3 cm. wide.
Soon after 4:00 p.m. Sunday, John Bule was pronounced dead.