Rabu 07 Feb 2024 15:10 WIB

Papuan Separatist Ready to Release New Zealand's Pilot

Release of Susi Air pilots is required through intermediaries.

Rep: Fitriyan Zamzami/ Red: Fitriyan Zamzami
Philip Mark Mehrtens flanked by Papuan separatist soldiers at an unknown location in Nduga on December 22, 2023.
Foto: Dok TPNPB
Philip Mark Mehrtens flanked by Papuan separatist soldiers at an unknown location in Nduga on December 22, 2023.

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, NDUGA — The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) separatist group has finally decided to release New Zealand Susi Air pilot Philip Mark Mehrtens, whom they held hostage for a year. The exemption was required through the intermediary of the United Nations (UN).

“In the interest of protecting humanity and ensuring human rights, the Central Headquarters Management of the National Command, West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) will return pilot Philip Mark Mehrtens to his family through the jurisdiction of the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN). ” wrote the TPNPB statement on Wednesday (7/2/2024).

Baca Juga

Mehrtens was detained by TPNPB, III Ndugama Darakma Defence Area Command under the leadership of Regional Commander Brigadier General Egianus Kogeya on 7 February 2023. Egianus Kogeya, together with his group, was responsible for the assault on Paro Airfield, in Nduga on February 7, 2023.

In the attack, the armed group damaged a Susi Air civilian aircraft manned by Captain Philip. Captain Philip, pun since then in captivity who to this day has not been able to be released. Military operations carried out by the TNI-Police for the mission to free Captain Philip resulted in the deaths of a number of military and police personnel.

In yesterday's statement, the TPNPB quipped that the hostage-taking was carried out according to the standards of the laws of war. “Pilot Philip Mark Mehrtens landed his plane in the war zone using the Susi Air aviation company subsidized by the Indonesian Government with the Operation Pioneers program,” wrote a statement shared by TPNPB Spokesman Sebby Sambom.

According to the TPNPB, within a year the Indonesian Government and the New Zealand Government were unable to open up a peaceful negosisation with the Papuans in order to free Captain Philip. “We condemn President Jokowi and the illegal Indonesian government in West Papua that was unable to answer the demands of PNPB Commando Defence Region III Nudgama Darakma and was also unable to accept the offer of peaceful negotiations with the TPNPB for the release of the Pilot for one year."

TPNPB also expressed disappointment with Melanesian countries that have never paid attention to the humanitarian crisis in Papua. “This is a failure of Pacific regional governments such as MSG and PIF that do not conform to the humanitarian norms of life of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Islands, and the West Papuan nation invites the Pacific countries to be the solution for the safety and liberation of Pilots from Indonesia's rotten intentions that are seeking to sacrifice these Pacific citizens of New Zealand.“

On this day, the New Zealand government also requested Mehrtens's release. New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said the New Zealander had been providing “vital airstrips and supplies to remote communities” at the time he was abducted. 

'We strongly urge those who are holding Philip to release him immediately and unharmed. His persistent detention benefits no one's interests,” Peters said in a statement to mark one year since the pilot was taken over.

Papua Police Chief Irgen Pol Mathius Fakhiri said that Susi Air pilot Philip Mark Mehrtens was still in the area of Nduga Regency. He added that liberation efforts are still being carried out by promoting negotiations to avoid casualties, especially from civilians, given that the KKB often joins the community.

According to the Chief of Police, until now the Nduga Government, especially the Acting Regent, is still constantly brought forward considering that in addition to having family ties, the events and places of hostage-taking are located in its territory.

In addition, it still provides an opportunity for parties, especially public and religious figures, to help approach the KKB led by Egianus Kogoya in order to free the pilot. “We hope that the hostage release effort can soon materialize in healthy conditions,” he told Antara.

Yuk koleksi buku bacaan berkualitas dari buku Republika ...
Berita Lainnya