HomeBreaking NewsAustralian Helicopter Pilot and Contractors Freed After Kidnapping in Papua New Guinea

Australian Helicopter Pilot and Contractors Freed After Kidnapping in Papua New Guinea

An Australian helicopter pilot and two local contractors, who were abducted at gunpoint in Papua New Guinea’s volatile highlands, have been released unharmed, authorities confirmed on Monday. The trio was kidnapped near Mount Sisa in central Hela Province while working at a remote telecommunications tower. However, they were later freed and reported to be “safe and unharmed.”

According to Police Commissioner David Manning, as security forces closed in on the area, the assailants relented and allowed the captives to return to safety. Manning emphasized that warnings had been issued to the abductors, notifying them of the potential use of lethal force to secure the release of the hostages. The operation has now entered a phase focused on tracking down the abductors to ensure they face justice.

Papua New Guinea’s highlands have been plagued by a series of kidnappings and tribal conflicts in recent years, resulting in numerous casualties. Just last week, over 50 bodies were discovered beside a road, a grim reminder of the ongoing violence between rival clans.

This incident echoes a similar kidnapping in 2023, where a New Zealand archaeologist and two others were held hostage near the same area. After a tense negotiation period, they were released, albeit traumatized, following demands for a substantial ransom.

The Papua New Guinean government has faced mounting pressure to bolster security measures and address the escalating lawlessness in the region. Prime Minister James Marape has vowed to deal harshly with criminals, emphasizing that crime will not go unpunished and ultimately leads to the arrest or demise of wrongdoers.

The successful release of the hostages underscores the importance of swift and decisive action by security forces to ensure the safety of individuals operating in volatile regions like Papua New Guinea’s highlands.

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