A New Zealand pilot taken hostage in West Papua appeared gaunt and baggy as he despatched a message to his household a 12 months after his kidnapping.

Philip Mehrtens, who was abducted in February 2023 after touchdown his airplane within the distant area of Nduga, advised his spouse and son he liked them and that he was “attempting to remain constructive”.

He’s being held by the West Papua Liberation Military, a insurgent group who’ve repeatedly threatened to execute him except the province is granted independence from Indonesia.

In a video recorded on Dec 22 however launched on Tuesday, the 38-year-old claimed he was being handled properly, despite his skinny options, lengthy hair and unkempt beard.

Mr Mehrtens laughed barely as he launched himself, explaining the footage is being shot by “the Commandant” – considered Egianus Kogoya, a commander within the insurgent military who torched the pilot’s airplane and kidnapped him final 12 months.

He mentioned: “I’m OK. They’re treating me properly. I’m attempting to remain constructive. I hope that you just and Jacob are wholesome and doing OK and getting assist.

“Later once we meet once more the Commandant says we will attempt to make a cellphone name over the WiFi in case you’re obtainable.”

He added, haltingly: “I really like you each tons, miss you each tons, and hope to have the ability to speak with you quickly.”

Mr Mehrtens is being held by separatist rebels in Indonesia’s Papua region after his kidnap in February 2023

Mr Mehrtens is being held by separatist rebels in Indonesia’s Papua area after his kidnap in February 2023 – Reuters

West Papua was a Dutch colony from the late nineteenth century till 1961, however was included into Indonesia after a controversial referendum in 1969. Simply 1,000 Papuans are thought to have taken half within the vote.

An independence motion has been brewing for many years, however separatist fighters have launched deadlier and extra frequent assaults over the previous six years.

Photos beforehand launched by the group have proven Mr Mehrtens, his face smeared with paint, surrounded by captors brandishing computerized weapons.

In a video uploaded to social media final week, the 38-year-old pleaded with the New Zealand authorities to ship over “one or two” inhalers in case he will get an bronchial asthma assault.

“And if attainable, can I please get an e-book reader like a Kindle with as many English books as attainable,” he continued. “That may be very a lot appreciated.”

The Indonesian navy swept the mountainous Nduga area for Mr Mehrtens after his single-engine airplane was stormed by armed rebels. He had landed at Paro airport to evacuate well being staff who had been being threatened by the group.

Six troopers had been killed in a shoot-out with separatists once they had been attacked whereas looking for the New Zealander.

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