Indonesian security forces search for NZ pilot taken hostage

English News 08 Feb 2023 19

Indonesian security forces are searching for a pilot from New Zealand who was taken hostage by separatist rebels in restive Papua province..

Indonesian security forces searched Wednesday for a pilot from New Zealand who was taken hostage by separatist rebels in restive Papua province.

The joint team of soldiers and police searching for the pilot, Philip Mark Mehrtens, also managed Wednesday to rescue 15 construction workers who had been building a health center in Paro village in remote Nduga district after separatist rebels threatened to kill them, regional military commander Brig. Gen. J.O. Sembiring said.

Mehrtens, from Christchurch, was captured early Tuesday by independence fighters from the West Papua Liberation Army, the armed wing of the Free Papua Organization, who stormed his single-engine plane shortly after it landed at Paro's small airport.

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