Indonesia: West Papua Liberation Army (WPLA) separatist rebels take New Zealand pilot hostage in Papua
Separatist rebels set fire to a small plane carrying six people after it landed at a remote airport in Indonesia’s restive Papua province and took its pilot, a New Zealand citizen, hostage early Tuesday, police and rebels said.
Rebel spokesperson Sebby Sambom said independence fighters from the West Papua Liberation Army, the military wing of the Free Papua Organization, stormed the plane shortly after it landed in Paro in Nduga, a mountainous district.
Sambom said the fighters, led by group commander Egianus Kogeya, set fire to the plane and seized its pilot, Philips Max Marthin, as part of their struggle for independence. He said all five passengers, including a young child, were released because they are indigenous Papuans.