Deadly clash in West Papua during Indonesian rescue bid for NZ pilot

TPNPB-OPM Jeffrey Bomanak
TPNPB-OPM chairman Jeffrey Bomanak . . . "We have killedsix members of the Indonesian Kopassus (special forces)." Image: SBS screenshot APR

By Stefan Armbuster of SBS World News

Indonesia’s military confirms one soldier was killed and more are unaccounted for after clashes with the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB-OPM) rebels holding New Zealand pilot Philip Mehrtens hostage.

The West Papuans claim at least six soldiers were killed and a number taken prisoner during the Indonesian military’s rescue operation to find the civilian pilot for Susi Air captured on February 7.

An escalation of Indonesian actions has been flagged, with West Papuans claiming there were retaliatory helicopter airstrikes.

The New Zealand government says it is seeking a “peaceful resolution” and Mehrten’s “safe release”.

Republished with permission.

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