Jakarta, IO – Spokesperson for the Free Papua Organization’s National Liberation Army of West Papua (TPNPB-OPM) Sebby Sambom revealed a slew of information regarding the conditions of Susi Air pilot Philip Mark Mehrtens whom they have been holding hostage since February.
Sambom said Philip is currently in good health and he asked the Indonesian government to cease military operations in Papua. Sambom claimed that Indonesian military carried out bombing which endangered his group and the hostage.
“He (Philip) personally said that he was fine and healthy, but was anxious because the Indonesian military and police were carrying out a massive bombing in Ndugama, and this would endanger him and everyone in the area,” said Sambom, reported CNNIndonesia, Wednesday (26/4).
Sambom also requested that Captain Philip’s release not be achieved through military operations because it would put his life in danger. He said negotiation should be prioritized.
“Therefore, Indonesian President Joko Widodo must stop military operations in Ndugama immediately, otherwise it will endanger the life of the New Zealand pilot,” he stated.
TNI Commander Adm. Yudo Margono previously raised the status of military operations in Papua to combat alert. This step was taken because the separatist organization led by Egianus Kogoya attacked and killed several soldiers. Before the gunfight took place, TNI had always prioritized soft approach and negotiations in the effort to free the hostage. (un)