Jayapura, Jubi – As of Tuesday night, February 7, 2023, Indonesian security forces did not know the whereabouts of Philips Max Marthin, a Susi Air pilot who was taken hostage by the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB). Marthin, who is a New Zealand citizen, was taken hostage following the burning of a Susi Air plane in Paro District, Nduga Regency, Mountainous Papua Province in the morning.
One of the obstacles in finding Marthin is the lack of telecommunications facilities in Paro District, and there is no Indonesian Military (TNI) or police post in Paro District.
Papua Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Ignatius Benny Ady Prabowo stated that his party continued to track the whereabouts of Philips Max Marthin. According to Benny, the Nduga Police were preparing to go to Paro District.
“Until now, the investigation is still being carried out by the police assisted by the Cartenz Peace Task Force,” Benny said on Tuesday night.
Earlier on Tuesday morning, a Susi Air plane was burned after landing in Paro District. The leader of the TPNPB Ndugama-Derakma, Egianus Kogeya said the plane was burned by his men. Kogeya also stated that his group had captured and held Philips Max Marthin hostage.
Preceded by threats
Benny said that before the burning of the plane, rumors had been circulating since Saturday that the TPNPB had threatened 15 construction workers who were building a health center in Paro District.
Benny said the Nduga Police had received a report from the Nduga Regent who said the construction workers were questioned by TPNPB because they did not have complete identities.
“We got information that 15 people had left Paro District and headed to Mapenduma. But their whereabouts are still being investigated by the Cartenz Peace Task Force,” he explained.
Benny hopes that the public will entrust the handling of the hostage case to the police. “Telecommunication access there is still very limited, so there is very little information. I hope all parties will be patient,” he said. (*)