JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia Police said that the New Zealander pilot of Susi Air, Phillip Mark Mehrtens, held hostage for three weeks by the armed criminal group (KKB) in Papua, is in good condition.
“From the results of the communication between the team and the local government, the pilot's condition is quite good,” said National Police's public relations division head Inspector General Dedi Prasetyo on Friday, March 3 in Jakarta.
The police along with the Peace Carstensz Task Force, comprising the Indonesia Military (TNI), local administration, and religious leaders, are prioritizing dialog efforts in releasing the pilot from New Zealand, he said.
The dialog was made by the district head, who communicated with the KKB and traditional leaders, Dedi said.
Also read: Negotiations Underway to Free Susi Air Pilot from Papua Separatist Group
"Our priority is the safety of Captain Merthens," he said.
The two-star general added that communication between the local government and KKB aimed at ensuring the safety of Captain Merthens.
"Even though he had been held hostage for three weeks, we still prioritize a soft approach of communication between the local government and KKB," he said.
Dedi explained that one of the obstacles in releasing Captain Merthens was the difficulty in communicating due to poor connection.
To communicate, the local government should find a certain location point to be able to reach the KKB, he said.