14 Aug 2012

NZers among group held captive in West Papua

7:11 pm on 14 August 2012

A New Zealand woman is warning of the risks of travelling to the Papua region after she and three other New Zealanders were held captive by a militia group.

They were in a group of 10 foreigners held for several hours before being released unharmed on Tuesday morning.

Christine Burke says the group was in the Indonesian province to climb a mountain and had got the correct permits, but were confronted in a village by men armed with machetes, bows and arrows and guns.

The men took their passports and demanded $NZ130,000 for the return of the documents.

Ms Burke says they didn't have the money and were escorted to a local airport.

She says the Australian and New Zealand governments should be doing more to warn travellers to Papua that hostility against foreigners has increased.

But Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says the warnings are already clear on the ministry's website, which he says offers cautionary advice.

Climber would go again

One of the New Zealand climbers detained says some of the group will attempt the trip again.

Expedition leader Mike Roberts says after paying a local village to climb the mountain, they were confronted by a group of men armed with machetes.

Mr Roberts says the group had to pay US$3,500 to have their passports returned.

He says they have abandoned the trip for now but are determined to try again.