Jakarta (ANTARA) - National Police's (Polri's) Public Relations Division Head Inspector General Dedi Prasetyo stated that Susi Air pilot, Captain Philip Mark Merthens, held hostage for three weeks by the armed criminal group (KKB), is in good condition.

"From the results of the communication between the team and the local government, the pilot's condition is quite good," he noted in Jakarta, Friday.

Polri, along with the Peace Carstensz Task Force, comprising the Indonesia Defense Forces (TNI), local government, and religious leaders, are prioritizing dialogue efforts in releasing the pilot from New Zealand, he stated.

This effort to conduct a dialog was made by the local regional government, namely the district head, who communicated with the KKB and traditional leaders, Prasetyo revealed.

"Our priority is the safety of Captain Merthens," he stressed.

The two-star general noted that communication between the local government and KKB aimed at ensuring the safety of Captain Merthens.

"Even though he had been held hostage for three weeks, we still prioritize a soft approach of communication between the local government and KKB," he remarked.

Related news: Negotiations underway to free Susi Air pilot from Kogoya group

Prasetyo explained that one of the obstacles in releasing Captain Merthens was the difficulty in communicating due to bad signal.

In order to communicate, the local government should find a certain location point to be able to reach the KKB, he stated.

"Communication is not as easy as in other areas. The signal is difficult. That is the main obstacle," he remarked.

He emphasized that the goal of the soft approach is the return of Captain Merthens in good health.

He noted that the National Police did not limit the time for this operation. Hence, dialogue efforts are prioritized while ensuring the sound condition of Captain Merthens.

However, law enforcement efforts are also being prepared and will be carried out in accordance with inputs and suggestions from the local government and religious leaders, he stated.

Captian Merthens, who flew the Pilatus plane owned by Susi Air, has been held hostage by KKB since Tuesday, February 7. KKB then burned the plane at Paro Airfield, Nduga, Papua Mountains.

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Translator: Laily Rahmawaty, Resinta S
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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