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Community Support Needed in Efforts to Release Susi Air Pilot

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The long journey towards the release of Susi Air pilot, Philip Mehrtens, from the hands of the Terrorist Separatist Group (KST) in Papua, was full of challenges, tensions and cooperation between the Indonesian government and various related parties. The government’s initial steps focused on strong coordination between security forces, intelligence and other related parties. The Central and Regional Governments of Papua collaborate closely to ensure the success of the liberation operation.

Chief Expert of the Presidential Staff Office (KSP) Theofransus Litaay said the local regional government was the spearhead in efforts to free the Papuan Separatist Terrorist Group (KST) hostage, Susi Air Pilot Philip Mehrtens. The government continues to carry out negotiations, dialogue and communication with KST Papua. Plus, the regional government, especially the Regent of Nduga, Edison Gwijangge, is a traditional figure who is respected by residents, so he has the authority to dialogue with KST Papua.

Theofransus also said that so far the Regent of Nduga, Edison Gwijangge, has been able to communicate with KST Papua, which is holding the Susi Air pilot hostage. Theofransus said this progress should be appreciated. It is hoped that there will be good results from the negotiation process between the Papua Regional Government and KST Papua. Apart from that, his party also ensures that law enforcement officers remain alert and always on guard for security. The presence of security forces will certainly support the ongoing process. But the spearhead is local government. And don’t forget that for the Indonesian government the safety of hostages is number one. That is the most important thing for the government.

Negotiations are a crucial component in this liberation effort. The Indonesian government opened a line of dialogue with the KKB, trying to understand their demands and find a peaceful solution. The diplomatic team was actively involved in persuading and persuading the KKB to release the captives without harming Philip Mehrtens’ safety.

Phillip Mehrtens was held hostage by the KST Papua West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) since early February 2023, after his plane landed at Paro airfield, Nduga Regency, Papua Mountains. In the last 10 months, negotiation efforts to free Zealanders have continued, but have not produced results. The international community, including various human rights organizations, even urged the separatist group to release the pilot, but they were ignored.

KST Papua is trying to urge the international community to immediately put pressure on Indonesia, so that it quickly releases Papua so that it becomes independent without conditions. However, these demands and threats received no response at all from the United Nations (UN). Even the New Zealand government did not follow up on KST Papua’s request for independence.

Head of the Cartenz Peace Operations Task Force, Police Commissioner Faizal Ramadhani, said that his personnel continue to analyze the distribution of images and information regarding Susi Air Pilot Philip Mehrtens to ensure that this is indeed the latest documentation from the pilot. Currently, security forces are aware of the movements of the KST Papua leadership in the Nduga area who are holding the Susi Air pilot hostage. However, law enforcement cannot yet be carried out because it is related to the safety of pilots who are used as hostages. Prisoner safety remains the top priority. Therefore, the government is implementing a persuasive approach towards KST Papua.

Throughout this process, the government also maintained open communication with the public, providing regular updates through press conferences and the media. This transparency aims to ease public concerns and show the government’s seriousness in handling the situation.

The Papuan Regional Government realizes that the release of Philip Mehrtens is a necessity, not only for the security of this individual, but also to uphold the supremacy of law and prove that KST Papua’s actions cannot go unpunished. The Papuan Regional Government realizes that they are the spearhead in this liberation effort.

With close coordination between the Papua Regional Government, the police and other security forces, a careful and measured liberation strategy began to be implemented. Tactical measures were carefully prepared to minimize risks and ensure the safety of the hostage pilots.

National and international support was strengthened to increase pressure on KST Papua. Indonesia is mobilizing national and international support to increase pressure on KST Papua. The government continues to demonstrate its commitment to addressing the situation to the international community, seeking moral and diplomatic support to achieve a safe release. For this reason, the international community should provide moral and diplomatic support, while the Indonesian people show solidarity and a spirit of unity in efforts to free Susi Air Pilot Philip Mehrtens.
Meanwhile, public support for the government’s efforts to carry out negotiations to free the Susi Air pilots held hostage by KST Papua is also increasing. People from various levels and regions voice their solidarity and hope that this situation can be resolved peacefully. The huge support from the community shows that the desire to realize a peaceful situation in Papua is very strong. It is hoped that all parties can work together, including the government, armed groups and the general public, so that the release of the Susi Air pilot does not lead to new conflicts in Papua.

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