KKB demands weapon exchange as a condition for the release of Susi Air pilot, Mahfud: Impossible to barter with rebels
Jakarta, Indonesianpost.com – The Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law, and Security Affairs, Mahfud MD, stated that the government would not comply with the demands of the armed criminal group (KKB) that has taken hostage the Susi Air pilot, Philips Mark Methrtens (37).
The KKB, led by Egianus Kogoya, has demanded ransom money and weapons in exchange for Philips’s release.
“It’s impossible to barter weapons with rebels,” Mahfud said after the “Cangkrukan Menko Polhukam” event in Surabaya on Tuesday (28/2/2023), in a recording received by Kompas.com on Wednesday.
Mahfud added that the government and its security forces are currently strategizing on how to secure Philips’s release.
“But it is impossible for us to give independence or weapons and such to these criminals,” said Mahfud. The search operation for Philips is still ongoing on Wednesday (1/3/2023), which is the 22nd day since he was taken, hostage.
Philips, a New Zealand citizen, flew five passengers in an aircraft with registration number PK-BVY and landed at Paro Airport, Nduga Regency, Papua Pegunungan, on Tuesday (7/2/2023).
However, moments after landing, the aircraft was set on fire by the KKB led by Egianus Kogoya. The pilot and the five passengers were reportedly fleeing in different directions.
Currently, the five passengers who are native Papuans (OAP) have returned to their respective homes. Philips, on the other hand, is still being held by the KKB. In a video spread on social media by the KKB, they initially demanded that Indonesia recognize Papua’s independence.
“We took this pilot because Indonesia has never recognized Papua’s independence, so we arrested the pilot. Because all countries must open their eyes about Papua’s independence,” said one of the members of the KKB.
However, the latest news conveyed by the Papua Police Chief, Inspector General Mathius D Fakhiri, is that Egianus Kogoya has made demands as a condition for releasing Philips.
“He did make demands to replace weapons and money,” said Mathius in Mimika on Thursday (23/2/2023).
Mathius said that Egianus’s demands, especially concerning firearms and ammunition, are difficult to fulfill. The demands cannot be agreed to because they will only worsen the situation.