Jayapura, Jubi – Head of Cartenz Peace Operation 2023 Sr. Comr. Faizal Ramadani says negotiations to free New Zealand pilot of Susi Air, Philip Mark Mehrtens, who was currently held hostage by the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) led by Egianus Kogoya, had not been fruitful. However, Faizal emphasized that the security forces would continue the negotiation process.
According to Faizal, efforts to negotiate the release of Philip Mark Mehrtens by the local government, religious leaders, and Nduga community leaders were rejected by TPNPB. “We haven’t received the news directly, but we received information that there was a rejection,” said Faizal in Jayapura City on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.
“The whereabouts of Egianus’ group and Mehrtens are not yet known as the situation in the field is very dynamic. But we will keep looking,” he added.
Earlier on February 7, TPNPB burned a plane belonging to Susi Air after landing and dropping off passengers at Paro Airstrip, Nduga Regency, Mountainous Papua Province. They also took hostage the pilot of the plane, Philip Mark Mehrtens.
On February 14, TPNPB released photos and videos of the burning of the Susi Air plane, as well as a video showing Mehrtens with them. “The New Zealand pilot is in good health,” said TPNPB spokesman Sebby Sambom at the time. (*)