Posted 7 февраля 13:16

Published 7 февраля 13:16

Modified 7 февраля 13:27

Updated 7 февраля 13:27

In Indonesia, West Papua rebels hijacked a plane and took the pilot hostage

7 февраля 2023, 13:16
The National Liberation Army of West Papua, based in the forests and mountains of Indonesia, claimed responsibility for the attack on a civilian plane and the abduction of five passengers and pilot Philip Mertens.

According to the Al Jazeera TV channel, the representative of the police in Papua province Ignatius Benny Adi Prabowo told reporters that on Tuesday, the authorities organized a search for the hijacked liner, which, according to all calculations, is in a hard-to-reach place. Everyone understands that the lives of the five hostages and the pilot, who are in the hands of bandits, may be in danger.

It is not yet clear for what purpose the Susi Air plane carrying New Zealand tourists landed in the outback of Papua province.

Rebel leaders said by radio that the pilot and other hostages would not be released until Jakarta does not recognize the independence of West Papua, which belongs to the western side of the island of New Guinea.

The easternmost provinces of Indonesia, rich in natural resources, have been the site of battles between the local population and the Indonesian armed forces since the late 1960s. Over the past decades, people have been demanding that the central government grant the region political independence from Jakarta.

Some 30 years ago, Papuan guerrillas were armed mainly with bows, arrows, machetes and rifles of the 1899 model. In 2018, a large number of modern small arms seized from government soldiers fell into their hands. At the same time, many were trained in the training camps of Filipino Maoist militants, according to a report by the International Institute for Political Analysis of Conflicts.