12 Jun 2023

17 schoolgirls held hostage in remote PNG released by captors

7:02 pm on 12 June 2023
Papua New Guinea's Police Commissioner David Manning is the Controller of the country's State of Emergency during the covid-19 pandemic.

Papua New Guinea's Police Commissioner David Manning Photo: PNG PM Media

Seventeen schools girls taken hostage by armed men in the Mount Bosavi area on the border of the Southern Highlands and Hela provinces in Papua New Guinea have been released by their captors.

A Bosavi local said family members of the girls negotiated with the captors and were eventually able to secure their release last Wednesday (June 7).

The local resident also reported that the 17 girls were later airlifted to the Ridge Camp - a base owned by Oil and Gas Company, Santos, where they received medical treatment.

A spokesperson from Santos told RNZ Pacific that Santos "will not comment on a police matter."

Police Commissioner David Manning has confirmed the release of the hostages.

Speaking to PNG Haus Bung on Monday, Manning said police will continue investigations.

"Police are doing their best to ascertain the facts surrounding the events that led to the kidnapping," he said.

Manning said the PNG police will continue to pursue the kindnappers to "deter any similar situations in the future".

The armed men had initially demanded $40,000 kina and 10 pigs for the release of the students.

However, the villagers reportedly paid an undisclosed amount of cash and few pigs as ransom.