21 Nov 2023

MFAT acknowledges death threat video targeting Papua hostage Phillip Mehrtens

7:25 pm on 21 November 2023
New Zealand pilot Philip Mehrtens was photographed with his rebel captors in Indonesia's Papua region.

New Zealand pilot Philip Mehrtens photographed with his rebel captors in Indonesia's Papua region in February 2023 (file image). Photo: Supplied/TPNPB

A new video of the New Zealand pilot held hostage in the Indonesian region of Papua is circulating on social media.

Susi Air pilot Phillip Mehrtens was taken hostage by the West Papua Liberation Army fighters in February 2023 shortly after landing on a remote airstrip.

The video shows Mehrtens surrounded by armed men and comes with a claim that he has been given two months to live before he will be shot dead.

RNZ has been unable to verify the footage or when it was filmed.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was aware of the video, it said in a statement.

Efforts were ongoing to secure Mehrtens' safe release, it said, including working closely with Indonesian authorities and deploying New Zealand consular staff to do so.

The pilot's safety and wellbeing remained the top priority, and his family in Aotearoa and Indonesia were being supported, MFAT said.

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