NZ pilot taken hostage by Indonesian separatists in Papua

In the Indonesian region of Papua, separatist fighters took a New Zealand pilot hostage and set fireplace to a small commercial airplane after it made a landing in a distant highland area. The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) claimed accountability for the kidnapping and said that the pilot wouldn’t be released till the Indonesian authorities acknowledged the independence of West Papua.
The army has confirmed the identification of the pilot as Captain Philip Merthens and it’s unclear if the 5 passengers have additionally been taken hostage. The Indonesian Foreign Ministry and the New Zealand embassy in Jakarta have not but issued a response to inquiries for remark.
The police in Papua province initiated an investigation into the incident and dispatched both police and navy personnel to the realm to seek for the pilot and the five passengers. However, Clear is tough to achieve and might only be accessed by plane, limiting the number of personnel that could be sent, based on the spokesperson for the Papua province police.
“We can not ship any personnel there as a end result of Nduga is a tough area to reach. We can go there only by airplane.”
The airplane operated by Susi Air had safely landed early on Tuesday morning earlier than being attacked by the insurgent fighters. The TPNPB didn’t say instantly if they had also taken the passengers hostage in their statement however did verify that this was the second time the group had taken a hostage, with the first incident occurring in 1996.
Indonesia’s easternmost provinces, together with Papua, have been struggling with a continuous battle for independence since the area was brought under Indonesian management in a vote overseen by the United Nations in 1969. Since 2018, the conflict has tremendously intensified, with pro-independence forces carrying out extra frequent and extra lethal assaults.
According to a report by the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, the elevated intensity of these attacks has been made attainable by the fighters’ improved ability to obtain weapons. This has been achieved through raiding and stealing from army posts, cross-border purchases, and the illegal sale of government-issued weapons..

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