Seperatist threaten to execute Christchurch pilot held hostage unless demands met

Papua New Guinea
Image source: Dominic Perry

If the Indonesian government does not meet their demands, Papua independence rebels have threatened to execute a captive Kiwi pilot.


The West Papua Liberation Army captured the pilot, Phillip Mark Mehrtens, a former resident of Christchurch. This is coming after they attacked his aircraft in the Indonesian state of Papua and burned it on fire.


Sebby Sambom, a representative for the rebel separatists, posted on Facebook that the pilot “is still alive and will be held hostage for discussions with Jakarta.”


Sambom said that the pilot would be executed if Jakarta refused to talk with the Free Papua Organization organization.


He claimed that Mehrtens, who is believed to be married and have a young boy, is being held because New Zealand, Australia, and the United States collaborate militarily with Indonesia.


Sambom asserted that they would “never release” Mehrtens unless Indonesia recognized its colonial rule over Papua and ended it.


Prime Minister Chris Hipkins declared on Wednesday that the diplomatic response would be spearheaded by the New Zealand Embassy. The Mehrtens family had received consular assistance, but Hipkins stated that the government would keep public remarks “to a minimum.”


According to a former coworker and fellow pilot, Mehrtens was flying on “hazardous paths” with tiny runways and high hills.


It demonstrates how much of a family man he is to sacrifice his life in order to support his family. Phil is the sweetest guy ever; no one has ever said anything unfavorable about him.


It is believed that Mehrtens was born and raised in Christchurch. He completed his basic pilot training in 2007–2008 before spending eight years working abroad.


When he was abducted, Mehrtens was employed by Indonesian airline Susi Air. He  had previously worked there before moving back to New Zealand in 2016.


The airline cautioned pilots to exercise caution in certain situations, according to a former Susi Air pilot.


When he traveled to Papua in 2017, the airline had advised pilots to exercise caution.


They were instructed to maintain a low profile, move in packs, hire a chauffeur to show them around. They were also advised to and stay inside the airport grounds at all times.


According to the man, there were stories of an airplane being shot at as it was leaving Papua, with bullets discovered lodged under the pilot’s seat


The poor Papua area, a former Dutch colony in the western section of New Guinea is ethnically and culturally distinct from much of Indonesia. conflicts between indigenous Papuans and Indonesian security forces are frequent.

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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