New Zealand Foreign Ministry Expresses Concern over Susi Air Pilot's Abduction

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that Susi Air pilot Philip Mehrtens, who was abducted by the Free Papua Movement (OPM), communicated with his family ahead of Christmas 2023.

The statement was made through an official release from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs received by on Wednesday (7/2).

"We know that before Christmas, Philip was able to contact several friends and family members to assure them that he is still alive and well," said New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters in the release.

Peters then said, "However, we are still concerned about the length of time he has been detained."

He also stated that New Zealand has been in communication with Mehrtens' family to assure them that the government is taking all possible steps to secure his safe release.

The government, Peters added, is also collaborating with relevant parties in Indonesia, including the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Several Indonesian officials have repeatedly affirmed that the government is making every effort to free Mehrtens.

On this occasion, Peters also urged the OPM to release Mehrtens unharmed as soon as possible.

"Continuous detention serves no one's interests," he said.

OPM, led by Egianus Kogoya, kidnapped Mehrtens on February 7, 2023, shortly after landing his plane in Paro, Nduga Regency. Today marks exactly one year since the abduction took place.

However, there have been no signs of Mehrtens being released.

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