Friday, May 31, 2024 | 05:59 WIB

Susi Air passengers evacuated, pilot still not found

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Jakarta, IO – National Police chief Gen. Listyo Sigit Prabowo personally conveyed the update about the fate of Susi Air pilot and passengers held hostage by the National Liberation Army of West Papua-Free Papua Movement (TPNPB-OPM) armed separatist group led by Egianus Kogoya on Tuesday (7/2).

He revealed that five passengers have been successfully evacuated after they were released by the separatist fighters because they are Papuans, reported Tempo Thursday (9/2). However, Listyo said the pilot’s – a Kiwi named Philips Max Marthin – whereabouts is still unknown. Joint police-military personnel are still conducting the search.

Meanwhile, TNI Commander Admiral Yudo Margono said security forces have managed to detect the location of the pilot, who according to Yudo, is not being held hostage but managed to escape after the plane was set on fire after it landed at Paro Airport, Nduga.

“The pilot managed to escape, likely with the assistance of a local resident. The priority now is to find and rescue him,” said Yudo.

Read: Susi Air pilot and passengers taken hostage by TPNPB-OPM

It was reported that at the time of the incident, the plane was set to transport 15 construction workers who were building a community health center (Puskesmas) in the area. They were threatened by Kogoya’s men who became suspicious that some of them were spy from the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) and the military. However, they were saved by the local priest and have also been evacuated. (un)

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