Talks over NZ hostage pilot release stalled by ‘third party’, say police

Jubi News Negotiations for the release of New Zealand pilot Phillip Mark Mehrtens, who has been held captive by the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) for more than a year, has been hindered by customary issues and “interference of other parties”, say the Indonesian police. Senior Commander Faizal Ramadhani, head of the Cartenz Peace

Jubi News

Negotiations for the release of New Zealand pilot Phillip Mark Mehrtens, who has been held captive by the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) for more than a year, has been hindered by customary issues and “interference of other parties”, say the Indonesian police.

Senior Commander Faizal Ramadhani, head of the Cartenz Peace Operation, made this statement following a visit from New Zealand’s Police Attaché for Indonesia, Paul Borrel, at the operation’s command post in Timika, Mimika Regency, Central Papua Province, last Tuesday.

Mehrtens has been held by the pro-independence group since he was seized on February 7 last year.

The armed group led by Egianus Kogoya seized Mehrtens after he landed his aircraft at Paro Airport and the militant group also set fire to the plane.

The senior commander told local journalists he had conveyed this information to Borrel.

“The negotiation process is still ongoing, led by the Acting Regent of Nduga, Edison Gwijangge,” said Senior Commander Faizal.

“However, the negotiation process is hindered by various factors, including the interference of other parties and customary issues.”

The commander was not specific about the “other parties”, but it is believed that he may be referring to some calls from pro-independence groups for an intervention by the United Nations.

Negotiations ongoing
The chief of Nduga Police, Adjutant Senior Commmander VJ Parapaga, said that efforts to free the Air Susi pilot were still ongoing. He said the Nduga District Coordinating Forum (Forkopimda) was committed to resolving this case through a “family approach”.

NZ Police Attaché to Indonesia, Paul Borrel
NZ Police Attaché to Indonesia, Paul Borrel (left) during a visit to the Cartenz Peace Operation Main Command Post in Timika, Mimika Regency, Central Papua Province, last Tuesday. Image: Cartenz Peace Operation/Jubi

“We bring food supplies and open dialogue regarding the release of the pilot,” said Parapaga when contacted by phone on Tuesday. He said efforts to release Phillip Mehrtens remained a top priority.

A low resolution new image of New Zealand hostage pilot Philip Mehrtens
A low resolution image of New Zealand hostage pilot Philip Mehrtens . . . medication delivered to him, say police. TPNPB-OPM video screenshot APR

New Zealand’s Police Attaché Borrel commended the efforts made by the Cartenz Peace Operation Task Force, saying he hoped Mehrtens would be released safely soon.

“We express our condolences for the loss of the Indonesian Military (TNI) and police members during the pilot’s liberation operation,” Borrel said.

“We hope that the Cartenz Peace Operation can resolve the case as soon as possible.”

Medication delivered
Meanwhile, Papua police chief Inspector-General Mathius Fakhiri said several items requested by Merhtens had been delivered to him — including asthma medication, aromatherapy candles and disinfectants.

The armed group led by Egianus Kogoya seized Mehrtens after he landed his aircraft at Paro Airport and the militant group also set fire to the plane.

Inspector-General Fakhiri said the police always provided assistance to anyone who could deliver logistical needs or requests made by Mehrtens.

He added that the security forces were ready to help if the New Zealand pilot fell ill or needed medicine, shoes or food.

“We hope that he continues to receive logistical support so that he remains adequately supplied with food. This may also include other necessities for his well-being, including medication,” said the inspector-general.

‘Free Papua’ issue
Inspector-General Fakhiri said it had been hoped to reach an agreement in November and January.

But he said there were other parties “deliberately obstructing and hindering” the negotiations, resulting in stalled operation.

“From our perspective, they are exploiting the issue of the abduction of the Susi Air pilot as a Free Papua issue,” he said.

The inspector-general said he hoped that the New Zealand government would trust Indonesia to work towards the release of Mehrtens.

“There is a third party that always tries to approach the New Zealand government to use the hostage issue to bring in a third party. We hope that [this request] will not be entertained,” he said.

Republished from Jubi News with permission.

This post was originally published on Asia Pacific Report.


Print Share Comment Cite Upload Translate Updates
APA
APR editor | radiofree.asia (2024-04-23T14:58:25+00:00) » Talks over NZ hostage pilot release stalled by ‘third party’, say police. Retrieved from https://radiofree.asia/2024/03/02/talks-over-nz-hostage-pilot-release-stalled-by-third-party-say-police/.
MLA
" » Talks over NZ hostage pilot release stalled by ‘third party’, say police." APR editor | radiofree.asia - Saturday March 2, 2024, https://radiofree.asia/2024/03/02/talks-over-nz-hostage-pilot-release-stalled-by-third-party-say-police/
HARVARD
APR editor | radiofree.asia Saturday March 2, 2024 » Talks over NZ hostage pilot release stalled by ‘third party’, say police., viewed 2024-04-23T14:58:25+00:00,<https://radiofree.asia/2024/03/02/talks-over-nz-hostage-pilot-release-stalled-by-third-party-say-police/>
VANCOUVER
APR editor | radiofree.asia - » Talks over NZ hostage pilot release stalled by ‘third party’, say police. [Internet]. [Accessed 2024-04-23T14:58:25+00:00]. Available from: https://radiofree.asia/2024/03/02/talks-over-nz-hostage-pilot-release-stalled-by-third-party-say-police/
CHICAGO
" » Talks over NZ hostage pilot release stalled by ‘third party’, say police." APR editor | radiofree.asia - Accessed 2024-04-23T14:58:25+00:00. https://radiofree.asia/2024/03/02/talks-over-nz-hostage-pilot-release-stalled-by-third-party-say-police/
IEEE
" » Talks over NZ hostage pilot release stalled by ‘third party’, say police." APR editor | radiofree.asia [Online]. Available: https://radiofree.asia/2024/03/02/talks-over-nz-hostage-pilot-release-stalled-by-third-party-say-police/. [Accessed: 2024-04-23T14:58:25+00:00]
rf:citation
» Talks over NZ hostage pilot release stalled by ‘third party’, say police | APR editor | radiofree.asia | https://radiofree.asia/2024/03/02/talks-over-nz-hostage-pilot-release-stalled-by-third-party-say-police/ | 2024-04-23T14:58:25+00:00
To access this feature and upload your own media, you must Login or create an account.

Add an image

Choose a Language



A Free News Initiative

Investigative Journalism for People, Not Profits.