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Papuans armed with bows and arrows took a pilot from New Zealand hostage (photo, video)


February 15, 2023 at 11:47 pm

Photo: West Papua Liberation Army | Papuan rebels at the hijacked plane

The separatists set the plane on fire and released five local passengers. The 37-year-old pilot from New Zealand was detained, but promised to be released if Papua gains independence from Indonesia.

Rebels in Indonesia stormed the single-engine plane of New Zealand pilot Philip Mertens after landing in the Indonesian province of Papua Highlands. About it informs The Mirror.

A week ago, separatists from the National Liberation Army of West Papua, the paramilitary wing of the Papua Liberation Organization (OPM), which advocates secession from Indonesia, released a chilling video of a hostage.

They set fire to the plane and released five local passengers, but detained the 37-year-old pilot, although they promised to treat him humanely.

The rebels forced the pilot to lay out their demands, which are related to a long-standing territorial dispute over control of the region captured by Indonesia in the 60s.

Rebels hold New Zealand pilot hostage

The rebels promised to release the New Zealander if Papua became independent.

In another video, the pilot makes a statement in Indonesian: “The Papua army captured me in an attempt to achieve independence.”

Rebels with a hostage

A separatist spokesman said the New Zealand hostage was being held at the group’s stronghold in a remote area and would be used as “lever” in the negotiations.

Rebels at the hijacked plane

A day later, the rebels took 15 construction workers hostage, but Indonesian security forces managed to free them.

Papua, a former Dutch colony that declared independence in 1961, but two years later Indonesia took over the territory.

The area where the New Zealand pilot was captured

Since 2018, clashes between indigenous Papuans and Indonesian authorities have become more frequent.

Recall that the Yemeni rebels launched a missile attack on Abu Dhabi. After four explosions in the city, the rest of the missiles were intercepted by air defense.

Previously Focus reported a fire on a tourist liner off the coast of Bali. The Indonesian Air Force was sent to rescue the passengers and crew of Mutiara Timur I.

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