Papuan separatists threaten to shoot New Zealand hostage if talks are denied.

Papuan separatists threaten to shoot New Zealand hostage if talks are denied.
Image: Reuters

In a Friday video, Indonesian Papua rebels threatened to shoot a New Zealand pilot they kidnapped in February if countries don’t start independence talks within two months.

After landing in Nduga, Papua’s central highlands guerrilla fighters kidnapped Phillip Mehrtens.

In the new video, Mehrtens holds the Morning Star flag, a symbol of West Papuan independence, and is surrounded by fighters wielding Indonesian assault rifles.

Mehrtens tells the camera that separatists want countries other than Indonesia to discuss Papuan independence.

“If it does not happen within two months then they say they will shoot me,” Mehrtens says in the video, which was shared by Papuan rebel spokesperson Sebby Sambom and verified by Jakarta-based IPAC analyst Deka Anwar.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed RushHourDaily on Saturday that they were aware of the photos and videos.

“We’re doing everything we can to secure a peaceful resolution and Mr Mehrtens’ safe release,” the spokeswoman said.

On Saturday, Indonesia’s military spokesman Julius Widjojono said the military will continue to take measureable actions in accordance with standard operating procedure.

Indonesian authorities have prioritized peaceful negotiations to release the Susi Air pilot, but they have struggled to access the rugged highlands.

Since 1969, resource-rich Papua has fought a low-level but deadly independence war.

Since 2018, pro-independence fighters have launched more deadly and frequent attacks due to their improved weaponry.

The West Papua National Liberation Army’s Rumianus Wandikbo urged New Zealand, Australia, and Western nations to begin talks with Indonesia and the separatists.

“We don’t charge…”We demand sovereignty,” he said in another video.

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