Moment pilot is taken hostage by bow and arrow-wielding rebels in chilling video

Posted February 15, 2023 by: Admin #News

In a video that has recently surfaced, a New Zealand pilot has been shown being held captive by rebels in the remote Papua region of Indonesia.


The pilot, Phillip Mehrtens, works for Indonesian aviation company Susu Air and was kidnapped by separatist rebels from the West Papua Liberation Army, the armed wing of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), who stormed his single-engine plane soon after it landed on a small runway.

In the video, which was released by the rebels, Mr Mehrtens can be seen standing in a forest surrounded by heavily armed men, who are brandishing rifles, spears, bows, and arrows. Rebel leader Egianus Kogoya has stated that the pilot will not be released until the Papua region is made independent from Indonesia. However, the Indonesian government has maintained its stance that Papua will “forever remain a legitimate part” of Indonesia.


Mr Mehrtens had landed his plane, carrying five passengers, on a small runway in Paro and was scheduled to evacuate 15 construction workers building a health center in the district after the separatist rebels threatened to kill them. The rebels responded to this plan by setting fire to the plane and seizing the pilot. Nduga district chief Namia Gwijangge, who was one of the passengers, has expressed regret about the incident.

The rebels had released all five passengers, as they were indigenous Papuans, according to rebel spokesman Sebby Sambom. On Tuesday, Sambom shared videos and photos that showed a group of gunmen setting fire to the plane on the runway. In one of the videos, Kogoya can be seen sitting in the cockpit of the plane, claiming to have taken the pilot hostage as part of their struggle “to free Papua” from Indonesia. In another video, Mr Mehrtens can be seen standing in a forest surrounded by the heavily armed rebels. In a third video, the rebels order the pilot to deliver a message stating that he has been taken captive to fight for Papuan independence, and they demand the Indonesian military to leave the region.


The rebels have listed several demands for the release of Mr Mehrtens, including the removal of Indonesian troops from West Papua, a UN investigation into alleged human rights violations, a referendum of independence, and the cancellation of “Special Autonomy.” Papua was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 after a UN-sponsored ballot that was widely considered a sham. Since then, a low-level insurgency has simmered in the mineral-rich region, which is divided into two provinces, Papua and West Papua.

The incident has highlighted the long-standing conflict between Indonesia and the separatist movement in the Papua region. The use of bows and arrows in the hostage-taking is a stark reminder of the continued existence of low-level conflict in the area. As the situation develops, it remains to be seen whether the demands of the separatist rebels will be met or whether Mr Mehrtens will be released unharmed. The Indonesian government has stated that it will not negotiate with the separatist rebels, adding to the uncertainty surrounding the situation.



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