Padang, West Sumatra (ANTARA) - Indonesia's Foreign Ministry and the New Zealand Government have continued to communicate on efforts to free Susi Air pilot and New Zealander, Philip Mark Mehrtens, who is being held hostage by a Papuan separatist terrorist group.

"They (the New Zealand government) know what the (Indonesian) government is currently doing to free the hostage," Director General of Public Information and Diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Teuku Faizasyah said in Padang, West Sumatra, on Monday.

He did not deny that freeing the New Zealand pilot will not be an easy task and will take time. However, the most important thing is that the communication between the two countries continues.

"I, myself, and the New Zealand Ambassador to Indonesia meet every two weeks," he informed.

At the routine meeting, the ministry and the ambassador share information, including consular facilitation.

In other words, he said, the Indonesian Government has continued to try to save Mehrtens from the armed group. At the same time, it is hoped that efforts to free the pilot are also made known to all parties.

Earlier, Papua Police Chief Inspector General Mathius Fakhiri said the location where the Egianus Kogoya-led group is keeping the Susi Air pilot is difficult to reach.

According to him, efforts to free the pilot are still prioritizing negotiation by providing space to the community and religious leaders and the Kogoya family to communicate so that they become willing to free the pilot safely.

The New Zealand pilot was abducted by the armed separatist terrorist group on February 7, 2023, shortly after landing in Paro, Nduga district, Papua Pegunungan province. The group also torched the Susi Air aircraft that he had piloted.

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Translator: Muhammad Zulfikar, Raka Adji
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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