Separatist fighters in Indonesia’s restive Papua area have launched a sequence of photos exhibiting a pilot from New Zealand who was taken hostage greater than per week in the past.
The images launched on Tuesday present the pilot, recognized by native police as Philip Mehrtens, standing totally clothed and apparently unhurt amongst a bunch of fighters who’re holding weapons, bows and arrows and different weapons.
Mehrtens was captured after touchdown a industrial Susi Air constitution flight at Paro Airport within the distant highlands of the Nduga regency last week, with the West Papua Nationwide Liberation Military (TPNPB) claiming accountability and saying it had burned his aircraft.
The group beforehand demanded that every one incoming flights to Paro Airport be stopped and stated the pilot wouldn’t be launched till the Indonesian authorities acknowledged Papuan independence.
The TPNPB launched the images of Mehrtens on its Fb web page together with an announcement reiterating its place.
“TPNPB has admitted the accountability for the burning of the aircraft and taking hostage of a Susi Air pilot who’s a citizen of New Zealand, and we preserve our promise and are politically accountable,” it stated within the assertion.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Overseas Affairs and Commerce instructed CNN it was “conscious of the images and video circulating however received’t be commenting additional at this stage.”
Separatist fighters in Indonesia’s easternmost area of Papua – a former Dutch colony – have been demanding independence for the reason that area was introduced beneath Indonesian management following a controversial 1969 vote overseen by the United Nations.
Nonetheless, preventing within the impoverished however resource-rich area, the place the Indonesian army maintains a heavy presence, has escalated in recent times.
The Indonesian authorities designates the TPNPB as a terrorist group.
Papua Police Chief Inspector Mathius Fakhiri beforehand instructed reporters that 5 passengers together with a child have been on the identical flight as Mehrtens, nevertheless it stays unclear what has occurred to them. They weren’t talked about within the newest assertion.
- New Zealand hostage pilot seems in images with armed West Papua rebels | CNN
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