OPM says threat to shoot NZ hostage from old video, aimed at provocation

CNN Indonesia – November 21, 2023
Suzi Air pilot Philip Mehrtens pictured with TPNPB fighters – February 14, 2023 (Istimewa)

Jakarta – The West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Organisation (TPNPB-OPM) has spoken out about the circulation of a video containing a threat to shoot Susi Air pilot Philip Mehrtens who has been held hostage by the group since February.

TPNPB-OPM spokesperson Sebby Sambom says the video that has been circulating recently is an old video and is being intentionally spread with the aim of provocation.

"It's an old video, perhaps published in May. Perhaps there's a group that deliberately published it for provocation", said Sambom when contacted on Tuesday November 21.

Sambom claimed that Mehrtens is currently alive and well and the leader of the group holding him hostage, Egianus Kogoya, will not shoot the pilot.

"The pilot is fine. This was an earlier threat. We have advised Egianus and his troops, the pilot is not an enemy, if they shoot the pilot, we'll all lose out full stop", he said.

Mehrtens has been held hostage by an armed criminal group (KKB, the government's term for the TPNPB) led by Kogoya since February 7 after he landed a plane on the Paro airstrip in Nduga regency, Papua Highlands.

On May 26 the KKB released a video showing Mehrtens condition. The New Zealand national said that the KKB would shoot him if there are no negotiations within the next two months.

Recently, a video has again surfaced on social media showing Mehrtens in which Kogoya threatens to shoot him. In the video, both Kogoya and Mehrtens can be seen wearing the same clothing as they did in the May video.

"If the state does not talk [about independence] for Papua, if Indonesia does not recognise this, it means I will give the pilot two months, if not I will shoot him", says Kogoya in the video. (yoa/DAL)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "OPM soal Ancaman Tembak Pilot Susi Air Dalam Dua Bulan: Video Lama".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20231121183639-12-1027226/opm-soal-ancaman-tembak-pilot-susi-air-dalam-dua-bulan-video-lama