Monday, 2 October, 2023

New Zealand calls for release of pilot kidnapped in Papua

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins on Wednesday called for the release of a Kiwi pilot kidnapped six months ago by Papua separatists in Indonesia.

New Zealander Phillip Mehrtens was working for Indonesian airline Susi Air when he was snatched by rebels at Nduga airport in February.

"Philip is a much-loved father, husband, brother and son," New Zealand's prime minister told reporters in Auckland.

"I want to urge, once again, those who are holding Philip to release him immediately.

The premier also said he had spoken with Mehrtens' family this week "to assure them that the government is doing all it can to bring Philip home".