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Papua police meet New Zealand Ambassador, discuss Susi Air pilot hostage

Tempo - February 8, 2024

Antara, Jakarta – The Ambassador of New Zealand to Indonesia Kevin Jeffery Burnet met Papua Police Chief Inspector General Mathius Fakhiri to discuss the release of the Susi Air pilot who was being held hostage by the West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Organization (TPNPB-OPM), Philip Mark Mehrtens.

"Various measures have been taken by both the local government of Nduga and the state military and police while prioritizing negotiations," he said in Jayapura on Wednesday, Feb. 7.

To Ambassador Kevin, Fakhiri stated that the police would continue to prioritize negotiations and hoped that Philip would be released safely.

According to Fakhiri, the representatives for New Zealand expressed their support for the sovereignty of Papua, which is an inseparable part of the Republic of Indonesia.

This confession, he went on, refuted the claims of TPNPB-OPM officials, Benny Wenda and Sebby Sembon, that countries are backing their movement.

"No country supported the independence of Papua, so the politicization of this issue must stop," he remarked.

Phillip Mark Mehrtens has been held hostage by the Egianus Kogoya-led group since Feb. 7, 2023, shortly after landing his plane at the Paro airport, Nduga Regency, Papua

Yesterday, TPNPB-OPM shared photos and videos of Philip Mark Mehrtens' current condition. In a video received by Tempo from OPM spokesperson Sebby Sambom, Philip said he was fine. "They treat me well, I try to stay positive," said Philips in a video statement.

In the video taken on Dec. 22, 2023, Philip said he was healthy and was getting support. The pilot said he was asked to make a video recording of what happened while he was being held hostage, which would be sent if there was internet.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1831193/papua-police-meet-new-zealand-ambassador-discuss-susi-air-pilot-hostag