West Papua (ANTARA) - Negotiation between the government and Egianus Kogoya's armed group was conducted in order to free the Susi Air pilot, Philip Mark Mehrtens, while preventing casualties, Vice President Ma'ruf Amin stated.

"We prefer to conduct some negotiations to free the hostage. We want to avoid more casualties," Amin noted on the sidelines of his working visit to review a green open space park in Fakfak, West Papua, Friday.

Vice President Amin explained that if a direct attack were to be launched using military force against the Egianus Kogoya group, there would be a risk of several casualties.

Hence, negotiations were conducted, namely through the local government along with community and religious leaders, he remarked.

"Yesterday, the Commander of the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) joined us. He also briefed us on the plans that will be carried out. We are waiting to see the result," he noted.

Earlier, TNI Commander, Admiral Yudo Margono, noted on a separate occasion that his side would continue to monitor developments in the negotiation process with local governments, including traditional leaders.

Margono emphasized that his side did not deploy troops to release Captain Mehrtens in order to avoid the potential for casualties, especially from the community.

On Friday, the vice president continued his working visit to Fakfak, West Papua, and held meetings with religious and traditional leaders as well as reviewed green open space parks.

Amin then performed Friday prayers at the Baitul Makmur Grand Mosque in Fakfak, West Papua, and provided assistance and sermon there.

Furthermore, after completing the activities at Fakfak, Vice President Amin continued his working visit to Bintuni Bay, West Papua, using the CN-295 aircraft.

After leaving Bintuni, the vice president will head directly to Manokwari.

Related news: Efforts still ongoing to free abducted New Zealander pilot: Jokowi
Related news: Negotiations underway to free Susi Air pilot from Kogoya group
Related news: Susi Air plane burning incident: One separatist detained

Translator: Rangga Pandu A J, Resinta S
Editor: Azis Kurmala
Copyright © ANTARA 2023