PNGDF rescue Indonesian hostages

PAPUA New Guinea Defence Force soldiers have successfully rescued two Indonesians after they were held captive by suspected OPM rebels on the PNG side of the border.

The two hostages were allegedly held by the Free Papua Organisation which had created diplomatic tension between PNG and Indonesia.

The incident came to light last Saturday (Sept 12) after the Indonesian consulate in Vanimo, West Sepik Province, disclosed that two Indonesian citizens, Sudirman (18) and Badar (30), were being held hostage by unknown persons in Skoutio village in West Sepik.

They were kidnapped by an armed group last Wednesday while cutting wood in Skopro in the sub district of Arso Timur, Kerom, Papua Province, a three-hour walk from Skoutio.

The PNGDF later confirmed the incident while the Commander of Papua regional command Major General Hinsa Siburian, said the armed group was led by a JP.

Kidnappers also shot Kuba, another person with the two hostages, who was later treated at the hospital.

Following the incident, Indonesian Government has stated clearly that it will not negotiate with the hostage takers holding at ransom two of its citizens in PNG.

Co-ordinating Minister for Political, Security and Legal Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan said President Joko Widodo has ordered whatever action was required to free the hostages.

He said Indonesia is currently not lobbying with any party in connection with the case. Indonesia fully supports and respects any action the PNG Government plans to take to free the hostages, adding that PNG has been very cooperative in this case.

He said PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill personally gave instructions to make efforts to free the Indonesian hostages.

The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed last night that the PNGDF has successfully rescued the two Indonesians and they are being treated at an undisclosed health centre.

The Indonesian nationals are understood to have been taken last week and attempts had been underway to secure their release through peaceful means. "When we were advised that two Indonesian nationals were likely being held against their will, I ordered that contact be made with the people involved.

"Initial discussions were held, first through a mediator then through direct means.’’

The Prime Minister’s Office will issue an official statement today in regard to the rescue mission.

Source: Post Courier / ONE PNG
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