Jayapura – The TNI continues to make efforts to free Susi Air pilot, Philip Mark Mehrtens, who was held hostage by KKB Papua. Deputy Chairman of the ELSAM Association Amir Al Rahab encouraged the government to take strategic steps in this regard.
Amir assesses that currently there are no signs that the hostage-taking will end. According to him, there has not been any significant steps taken by the government to release them.
“The hostage-taking of a pilot in the Nduga region has been going on for more than 6 months. Until today there is no sign of it ending. Meanwhile, we have not seen any significant and systematic steps to release the hostages and restore the situation,” said Amir in his written statement.
He said that the KKB is currently still in control of the area in Nduga. Moreover, the KKB can still hold hostages for a long time.
“No matter what officials say in Jakarta or in Papua, the hard fact today is clear that there are armed groups that can control and control areas in Nduga and its surroundings. As well as being able to hold hostages for a long time,” he said.
He reminded the government about the community’s assessment of the handling of this problem. Because, he continued, this hostage-taking could trigger bad perceptions, especially ahead of the election.
“If the hostage-taking is still not resolved within the next month, the public may judge that the government is being negligent. And hostage-taking can happen at any time and anyone can be taken hostage-taking. Of course such a perception will have a wider negative impact,” he said.
“Because the second six months of 2023 also shows that electoral politics is starting to heat up, a safe situation is needed for the people to be able to exercise their political rights, especially to vote and be elected in elections,” he continued.
He also urged the government to immediately control Papua. The government was asked to ensure the safety of residents in Nduga by releasing hostages.
“Therefore, with deep concern, I hope that the Vice President, who has been mandated by the President to control Papua, should have taken strategic and systematic steps to ensure a sense of security and comfort for the people in Nduga. For this reason, the release of the hostages must be carried out immediately,” he explained.
For information, Captain Philip has been held hostage since February 7 2023 in Nduga, Papua Mountains, after his plane was set on fire by the KKB. On the eve of Bhayangkara Day, last July 1, it was rumored that he would be shot.