Indonesia And NZ FMs Discuss on Hostage New Zealander

Asia, General729 Views
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Durian. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on 7 Feb. 2024 made a phone communication with newly appointed New Zealander Foreign Minister Winston Peters, discussing vary bilateral issues as well as efforts to release a hostage New Zealander Captain Philip Mehrtens, Indonesian Foreign  Ministry’s Spokesperson Lalu Mohammad Iqbal said.

“Besides discussing various bilateral aspects, (they) also talked about release hostage efforts towards Captain Philip,” Iqbal explained.

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Mehrtens was kidnapped and taken into hostage after landed his plane in an airport in Nduga Regency, Papua on 7 Feb. 2023. At the time he was worked for Indonesia’s private air carrier Susi Air.

The military wing of the Free Papua Organisation, called TPNPB-OPM, confirmed that they hostoge Mehrtens. His last appearance in a video and stills, shared by the TPNPB-OPM in March 2023, showing the pilot was healthy.

Mehrtens’ whereabouts is still unknown after one year since he was taken into hostage and rescue efforts according to Minister Retno has yet ceased.

“In the conversation, Foreign  Minister Retno said that efforts to release the hostage has been conducting with underlining persuasive measures,” Iqbal explained further about the two ministers communication.

Retno in that communication has ensured that consular access for New Zealand for this matter is granted.

Earlier, Peters called the TPNPB-OPM to release Mehrtens. The criminal group, according to Indonesian government term, has previously promised that they would release Mehrtens.

According to indonesiadefense.com, New Zealand’s Ambassador to Indonesia Kevin Jeffrey Burnet on Tuesday, 6 Feb. 2024 has visited Timika in Central Papua province to discuss with the Indonesian Military or TNI about efforts to release Mehrtens from hostage.  (***)

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