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OPM on Susi Air hostage: Indonesia, New Zealand govts unwilling to negotiate

Tempo - February 3, 2024

Reno Reza Mahendra, Jakarta – The West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Organization or TPNPB-OPM Spokesperson Sebby Sambom revealed the reason why the OPM Armed Criminal Group has yet to release the Susi Air Pilot Philips Martens it took hostage since March 2023.

So far, he said, the Indonesian and New Zealand governments are unwilling to speak with the OPM members to negotiate.

"We have opened ourselves up but the governments of Indonesia and New Zealand are still unwilling to speak to us, and we don't know the reason yet," Sebby confirmed to Tempo on Friday.

Sebby also promised to provide the most recent information on the condition of the hostage. "We will most likely announce [Philips Martens' condition] next week," he explained.

The chronology behind the hostage situation

Susi Air Pilot Philips Martens has been taken hostage by TPNPB-OPM since February 2023. The pilot, flying an aircraft numbered SI 9368 lost contact initially at 07:40 a.m. local time, and at 09:12 a.m. emergency distress signal made it known that the plane was burned at Paro District Runway.

Sebby Sambon mentioned that his side was responsible for the aircraft sabotage on Tuesday, February 7, 2023, at 06:17 a.m. local time. The next day, Police Chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo announced that five of the Susi Air passengers had been evacuated. However, the pilot, a New Zealand national, was missing.

In response, military commander Admiral Yudo Margono mentioned that the hostage situation revolving around Philips Martens had no relation with the OPM Armed Criminal Group.

OPM, however, claimed responsibility for the hostage and said the pilot would be taken hostage until New Zealand and other countries were held accountable for sending weapons and training Indonesian military and police members to oppress Papuans.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1828982/opm-on-susi-air-hostage-indonesia-new-zealand-govts-unwilling-to-negotiat