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March 14, 2021, 07.02 AM

The the Ministry of Health urged the constant use of health protocols such as washing hands with soap, wearing masks, and maintaining social distancing to guard against the coronavirus strains.

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Papuan Insurgents Hold Regional Airline Pilot and Crew Hostage

Insurgents or so-called ‘Armed Criminal Groups’ [KKB] in the Indonesian province of Papua has taken the pilot and three passengers of the Susi Air charter airline in the Puncak regency on Friday.

The Papua Regional Police said the crisis occurred shortly after the Susi Air PK BVU turboprop plane from Timika’s Mozes Kilangin airport landed at Puncak regency’s Wangbe airfield.

“The plane was flown by New Zealand national John Terrence Hellyer. It was carrying three passengers,” said Papua Regional Police spokesman Police Grand Commissioner Ahmad Musthofa Kamal on Saturday.

“30 KKB insurgents suddenly stormed the plane after it landed at 5:40 am. They held Hellyer and his passengers at gunpoint for over two hours, until one of the passengers talked their captors into releasing them, unharmed, more than two hours later at 8 am.”

Indonesian military spokesman Colonel CZI IGN Suriastawa confirmed that the incident took place. “The taking of hostages shows that [the Papuan insurgency] is far from over, though no one was hurt” he said. “[The military] is working closely with the police to suppress the KKB.”

The Papuan insurgency is particularly intense in the regencies of Puncak and Intan Jaya. The conflict has killed dozens of insurgents, Indonesian soldiers and policemen, as well as Papuan civilians, since it flared up in December 2019.

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