An armed separatist group seeking the independence of the western Indonesian province of Papua has taken a New Zealand pilot hostage.
Indonesian separatists take New Zealand pilot hostage
In Indonesia, the armed separatist group called the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) took Philip Mehrtens, the pilot of a plane belonging to the Susi airline company, Hostage After It Landed In The Nduga Region. The separatist group announced that the pilot would not be released until Papua’s independence was recognized by the government. In the statement made by the group, it was stated that the small plane used by the pilot was burned and the condition of Mehrtens, who was taken hostage, is good.
Indonesian officials, on the other hand, announced that they have adopted an approach primarily aimed at persuading the separatists in order to ensure the safety of the pilot. It was stated that the work for the release of the pilot continues.
A detailed statement has not been made yet from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand, which stated that they were informed about the incident.
Papua, which was previously under Dutch control, declared its independence in 1961, but in 1963 Indonesia took control of the region.