WATCH: New video shows NZ pilot in captivity of rebel fighters in Papua

WATCH: New video shows NZ pilot in captivity of rebel fighters in Papua

Footage has emerged of the New Zealand pilot of a small plane who has been taken hostage in Papua by separatists who are seeking independence from Indonesia.

The video appears to show Philip Merhtens alive in the custody of a number of armed men who stormed his Susi air plane and took him hostage, releasing his passengers and setting the plane alight.

Mehrtens has been held hostage for over a week by the armed wing of the ‘Free Papua Organisation’ (OPM) who have said they will not release him until Indonesia grants independence to the Papua provinces that make up the western half of New Guinea.

The OPM have also released photos with the pilot raising a fist alongside a Morning Star flag, a symbol of Papuan independence.

Philip Mehrtens in captivity. (Image – ABC News YouTube)

“Indonesia needs to recognise Papua’s independence,” Mehrtens said in one video.

“The Papuan military have taken me captive in their fight for Papuan independence.”

A second video features Mehrtens addressing the Indonesian government. The pilot said, “Papua dan OPM ditangkap saya untuk Papua Merdeka,” which roughly translates to ‘Papua and OPM arrested me for Free Papua.’

15 construction workers were also captured the day after the pilot was taken hostage, however Indonesian security forces were able to free them.

Tensions between rebel fighters and Indonesian security forces have grown in recent months.

The Papuan provinces were under the control of the Dutch until the 1960’s, they were then incorporated into Indonesia after a United Nations sponsored vote.

Featured image: Philip Mehrtens in captivity, The Telegraph YouTube

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