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Jokowi: Susi Air pilot's release negotiations ongoing

Tempo - July 8, 2023

Ima Dini Shafira, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said that various efforts are still being carried out by the government to release Susi Air's Pilot Captain Phillip Max Mehrtens, wo are being held hostage by the Free Papua Movement (OPM). A meeting has been conducted last night to discuss the strategy to release the pilot.

However, the President stopped short of disclosing to the public the exact agenda and plan. "We are not being silent. We have carried out various efforts, but unable to disclose them to the public," said Jokowi in Papua on Friday, July 7, 2023.

Captain Phillip Max Mehrtens has been held hostage by the OPM since February 7, 2023. The plane he commandeered, Susi Air's Pilatus Porter with flight number SI 9368 suddenly lost contact after landing on Paro Airport, Nduga Regency, Highland Papua Province. It is revealed recently that the plane was attacked and burned by OPM leader Egianus Kogoya.

The Head of the Indonesia National Armed Forces Information Center, Rear Admiral Julius Widjojono said that the military is actively awaiting a mediator to negotiate with OPM regarding the release of Phillips Max Mehrtens.

For the time being, Julius said, the focus is on negotiation. They are trying to intensify the negotiation process.

Meanwhile, the OPM spokesperson Sebby Sambom said his side has not decided on a mediator and that the negotiation has not started. "If Jakarta has not agreed to the terms, we will wait," said Sambom to Tempo, on Wednesday, July 5, 2023.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1745653/jokowi-susi-air-pilots-release-negotiations-ongoin