A chilling video has emerged of a New Zealand pilot being held hostage by bow-and-arrow rebels in the remote Indonesian province of Papua.
Indonesian airline Susu Air pilot Phillip Mehrtens was kidnapped last week by rebels who attacked his single-engine plane shortly after it landed on a small runway in Paro, in the remote Nduga district, on February 7. .
Separatist rebels from the West Papua Liberation Army, an armed wing of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP), captured Mertens before setting his plane on fire on the runway.
A video later emerged showing Mertens standing in the woods surrounded by a group of rebels armed with rifles, spears, and bows and arrows.
Rebel leader Egianus Kogoya claimed the pilot from Christchurch would not be released until the Papuan region gained independence from Indonesia.
But the Indonesian government has been adamant, saying Papua “remains a legitimate part” of Indonesia, raising questions about when Mertens will be released.
The West Papuan rebel group behind the February 9 kidnapping of New Zealand pilot Philip Mertens (center) was captured while demanding full independence from Indonesia to secure his release. released a photo of the aviator
Phillip Mehrtens was kidnapped shortly after landing in Paro, Ngudah, West Papua.
Separatist rebels from the West Papua Liberation Army, an armed wing of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP), captured Mertens before setting his plane on fire on the runway (pictured).
Mertens landed a plane with five passengers on a small airstrip in Paro, where 15 construction workers were building a health center in the district after separatist rebels threatened to kill them. I was planning to pick someone up.
“Our plan to evacuate the workers angered the rebels, who responded by setting the plane on fire and capturing the pilot,” said Nduga district chief, one of the passengers. Namia Guijiange said. “I deeply regret this incident.”
Flying is the only practical way to access many parts of the mountainous region.
The rebels released all five passengers because they are indigenous Papuans, rebel spokesperson Sevi Sambom previously said.
Sambom shared a video and photos on Tuesday that showed a group of gunmen led by Kogoya set the plane on fire on the runway.
Kogoya, who was sitting in the plane’s cockpit, said they had taken the pilot hostage as part of their struggle to “liberate Papua” from Indonesia.
Another video showed Mertens standing in a forest surrounded by heavily armed rebels.
In the third video, the pilot is ordered by the rebels to: my life.
“Indonesia must recognize Papua’s independence,” he added.
“I took him hostage for Papuan independence, not for food or drink,” said Kogoya, the rebel leader, with Mertens standing next to him. “He’s safe with me as long as Indonesia doesn’t use weapons from the air or on the ground.”
Papua was incorporated into Indonesia after a 1969 UN-sponsored vote was widely viewed as a sham. Since then, a low-level rebellion has raged in the mineral-rich regions that divide her two provinces of Papua and West Papua.
Gruesome photos of New Zealand pilot taken hostage by heavily armed rebels in remote Indonesian province of Papua have emerged
Footage released by the West Papua Liberation Army shows Mertens surrounded by men armed with guns, spears and bows and arrows and forced to speak on camera in support of the rebels.
Kogaya sitting outside before lighting the fire
Kogoya, who was sitting in the plane’s cockpit, said he had taken the pilot hostage as part of their struggle to “liberate Papua” from Indonesia.
Mertens flew a single-engine plane (pictured) to the Nguda area, reportedly to evacuate 15 construction workers from the area after their lives were threatened by rebels.
What is the West Papua Liberation Army?
West Papua Liberation Army Union Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP).
Separatist rebels from this group have been fighting Indonesian rule in Papua’s easternmost regions since the early 1960s.
The group, which is affiliated with child soldiers, uses guerrilla tactics to target and destroy industrial buildings that it rejects Indonesian-led development.
Papuan fighters were never fully armed, but they have been fighting Indonesia since 1962, when they took control of mineral-rich areas from the Netherlands.
Papuans, who declared independence the previous year, see the Indonesians as aggressors who consolidated their rule in a mock referendum in the late 1960s.
Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Politics, Security and Justice, Mohammad Mahhud, said the government was making every effort to persuade the rebels to release Mertens “because the safety of the hostages comes first”. .
“Holding civilians hostage for any reason is unacceptable,” Mahfud said in a video statement late Tuesday. He said persuasion was the best way to ensure the safety of the hostages, but “the government has not ruled out other efforts”.
He emphasized the government’s view that Papua is part of Indonesia.
“Papua will forever remain a legitimate part of the united nation of the Republic of Indonesia,” Mahfud said.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement on Wednesday:
Papua Police Chief Matius Fakiri told reporters in Jayapura, the provincial capital, that the pilot’s freedom was being sought by involving several community leaders, including tribal and church figures, building communications and negotiating with the rebels. Said he was trying to get
Meanwhile, Benny Wenda, president of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP), issued a statement on February 9, outlining his demands.
“The ULMWP executive team wants the New Zealand government and the world to know that we [using] A peaceful and diplomatic approach,” Wenda wrote.
“Our roadmap is very clear: we pursue the goal of a united West Papua to liberate the nation peacefully through diplomatic and political mechanisms.”
To release Mertens, the rebels are demanding the withdrawal of Indonesian troops from West Papua, a UN investigation into alleged human rights abuses, a referendum on independence and the cancellation of “special autonomy.”
“The kidnapping of a foreign pilot is a natural subject of international media attention for West Papua,” Wenda continued.
“The international community must help end the violence in West Papua by forcing Indonesia to discuss a referendum as the only path to a peaceful resolution.
“We will peacefully continue our long fight for freedom until the world finally hears our cry.
But PLA spokespersons have also issued warnings to other countries and regions, including Australia.
Videos and images later emerged showing Mertens standing in the woods surrounded by a group of rebels armed with rifles, spears and bows and arrows.
Benny Wenda, head of the West Papua Unity and Liberation Movement, offered his condolences to Mr Mertens’ family over the trouble caused by the kidnapping.
New Zealand pilot Philip Mertens
‘[The West Papuan Liberation Army] We believe that New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, the United States, and Europe are all to blame,” said Sevi Sambom, secretary of the Liberation Army, in a statement.
The United States, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand have supported the Indonesian government, trained the Indonesian National Police, and provided weapons to kill West Papuans from 1963 to today. they have to take responsibility.
Ethnically and culturally distinct from Indonesia, the former Dutch colony in western New Guinea has been in rebellion against Indonesian security forces for decades.
The rebellion against Indonesia has been simmering since a 1969 United Nations-sponsored vote brought West Papua under Indonesian rule.
The Nguda area was the site of bloodshed last July when 10 traders were killed by liberation forces they say are spies for the Indonesian government.
In March 2018, eight technicians repairing a remote communications tower were killed by insurgent gunmen, and in 2018 at least 31 construction workers and a soldier were killed in the state. died in one of the worst attacks on the
After graduating from flight school, Mertens worked for Susie Air before working for Jetstar and Cathay Dragon, a subsidiary of Cathay Pacific, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. He then returned to the Indonesian airline.
Papua was incorporated into Indonesia after a 1969 UN-sponsored vote was widely viewed as a sham. Since then, a low-level rebellion has simmered in the mineral-rich region.
Fifteen construction workers rescued by security forces on February 8 came from other Indonesian islands to build a health center in Paro. They had taken refuge in the village priest’s house for several days after the rebels threatened to kill them.
Separatists view civilian workers as outsiders and sometimes spy for the Indonesian government.
Conflict in the region has escalated over the past year, killing dozens of rebels, security forces and civilians.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11751271/Ex-Jetstar-pilot-hostage-Papuan-rebels-reassured-safety-groups-leader-demands-independence.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Video shows New Zealand pilot taken hostage by heavily armed rebel group in remote Papua region