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Jokowi discusses New Zealand pilot hostage with military commander, police chief

Tempo - March 21, 2023

M Julnis Firmansyah, Jakarta – Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said he had discussed efforts to rescue New Zealand pilot Philips Max Mehrtens who was being held hostage by the separatist group in Papua, Free Papua Movement (OPM), with the National Police Chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo and Military Commander Admiral Yudo Margono.

The talk was carried out limitedly after he landed in the country's easternmost province.

"We had an internal meeting last night. One of the topics discussed was this [hostage issue]," said Jokowi in a press statement broadcast on the Presidential Secretariat's YouTube, Tuesday, March 21.

The President emphasized that TNI Commander and the Police Chief must prioritize the safety of the Susi Air pilot. When asked about more detailed rescue operations, he said Yudo or Sigit would explain it further. "We talked about it last night. Just ask the National Police Chief or the Commander."

Commander of Military Resort 172/PWY, Brigadier General Juinta Omboh Sembiring, said that the armed group or KKB led by Egianus Kogoya who took Philip hostage was trying to break the concentration of the security forces.

"They are trying to break the concentration of the security forces and move their positions. But we have also been able to divide KKB's unity," said the commander who led the operation to release the pilot in an official statement, Friday, March 10.

Commander of the Military Region XVII/Cenderawasih Major General Muhammad Saleh said that the joint team continued to search for the whereabouts of Philips Max Mehrtens in the Nduga region, Papua, and its surroundings. At present, the operations are expanded to other areas.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1705294/jokowi-discusses-new-zealand-pilot-hostage-with-military-commander-police-chie