New Zealand Susi Air pilot held hostage by separatist fighters in Papua, Indonesia


Separatist fighters in Indonesia’s restive Papua area have captured a pilot from New Zealand and are holding him hostage after setting fireplace to his airplane, the group mentioned in a press release.

The pilot, recognized by native police as Philip Merthens, was captured after touchdown a business constitution flight at Paro Airport within the distant highlands of the Nduga regency on Tuesday.

5 passengers together with a child had been on the Susi Air flight, however it stays unclear what has occurred to them, Papua Police Chief Inspector Mathius Fakhiri instructed reporters on Tuesday.

A search workforce made up of police and navy personnel has been despatched to the realm.

On Tuesday, the West Papua Nationwide Liberation Military (TPNPB) mentioned it had burned the airplane in an airfield and “arrested” the pilot earlier than taking him hostage.

“He’s our second hostage,” TPNPB commander spokesperson Eganus Kogeya mentioned in a press release seen by CNN, in what gave the impression to be a reference to an incident in 1996 when the Free Papua Motion held captive 26 members of a wildlife analysis mission within the neighboring district of Mapenduma. Some hostages had been held for greater than 4 months, in keeping with the Worldwide Committee of the Crimson Cross (ICRC).

Within the assertion, Eganus additionally demanded that every one incoming flights to Paro Airport be stopped and mentioned the pilot wouldn’t be launched till the Indonesian authorities acknowledged Papuan independence.

The Indonesian authorities designates the TPNPB as a terrorist group.

A Susi Air plane (not the one involved in the incident on Tuesday) in Papua province in 2011.

New Zealand authorities officers instructed CNN they had been “conscious of the state of affairs involving a New Zealand pilot in Papua” and that the New Zealand embassy in Jakarta was offering consular assist to the household.

Susi Air founder Susi Pudjiastuti said on Twitter that she was praying for the protection of the pilot and the passengers.

Separatist fighters in Indonesia’s easternmost area of Papua have been demanding independence for the reason that area was introduced below Indonesian management following a controversial 1969 vote overseen by the United Nations.

Nevertheless, combating within the impoverished however resource-rich area, the place the Indonesian navy maintains a heavy presence, has escalated lately.

Rights teams within the area condemned the assault.

“We urge that the pilot and folks being held hostage be launched safely instantly. We additionally name on events to the battle to respect worldwide humanitarian legislation,” mentioned Usman Hamid, the director of Amnesty Worldwide Indonesia.

He mentioned the incident confirmed civilians had been the victims of the “repetition of violence within the Papua area.”

“All events should prioritize non-violence to be able to save civilians,” he added.

Andreas Harsono, Indonesia researcher for Human Rights Watch, mentioned seizing hostages was a criminal offense.

“The Nationwide Liberation Military for West Papua ought to instantly and unconditionally launch all hostages in Nduga,” Harsono mentioned.

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Halo, Saya adalah penulis artikel dengan judul New Zealand Susi Air pilot held hostage by separatist fighters in Papua, Indonesia yang dipublish pada February 10, 2023 di website Enchantress Magazine

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