The pilot of a small charter plane from New Zealand has been taken hostage by separatists in the Indonesian province of Papua. The plane arrived in Papua today.
Provincial police spokesman Beni Adi said authorities are investigating the incident.
He said that police and army personnel have been sent to the area to search for the pilot and 5 passengers.
“We cannot send more personnel there because Nduga is a difficult area, it can only be reached by air,” said the police spokesperson.
According to officials, the plane had landed this morning, and was later attacked by rebel fighters.
Papuan military spokesman Herman Triamin says that the pilot has been identified as Captain Philip Merthans and it is not clear whether five passengers were also kidnapped with him.
The West Papua National Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the pilot would not be released until the Indonesian government recognized West Papua’s independence.
The rebel organization did not say anything about the passengers on board.