JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Separatist rebels in Indonesia’s restive Papua province have released photos and videos of a man they say is the pilot from New Zealand whom they took hostage last week.
Phillip Mark Mehrtens is a pilot for Indonesian aviation company Susi Air. He was abducted by independence fighters from the West Papua Liberation Army, the armed wing of the Free Papua Movement.
They stormed his single-engine plane shortly after it landed on a small runway in a remote district. Indonesia’s government says it is making every effort to persuade the rebels to release the pilot “because the priority is the safety of the hostage.” But it says it is not ruling out other efforts.