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CrimePapua New Guinea

Australian pilot, two others kidnapped in Papua New Guinea

February 26, 2024

The trio are now free after being taken "by gunpoint" at a remote site near Mount Sisa in Papua New Guinea's highlands. Police had been cleared to use lethal force against the kidnappers.

An aerial view of Hagen Town, located in the Western Highlands region of Papua New Guinea.
Papua New Guinea's remote highlands have recently witnessed kidnappings and tribal violenceImage: Wirestock/Pond5 Images/IMAGO

An Australian pilot was kidnapped from a telecommunications site in Papua New Guinea's remote highlands on Monday, alongside two local workers.

The restive highlands have in recent years been the site of several kidnappings and tribal violence, where hundreds have been killed.

What do we know about the kidnapping of the pilot?

The incident occurred near Papua New Guinea's Mount Sisa in Hela province.

Papua New Guinea police commissioner David Manning said that the three were kidnapped at gunpoint by an armed group. Their release, safe and unharmed, followed several hours of negotiations, he added.

Papua New Guinea police had initially been cleared to use lethal force against the kidnappers.

Police later announced the trio were released unharmed.

How dangerous is Papua New Guinea?

Over 50 bodies were found in the area by the side of a main road last week. They are believed to be the victims of clashes between rival clans.

Last year in the same Hela province, an Australian archaeologist was kidnapped alongside two Papua New Guinean researchers for over a week. They were only released after a ransom was paid.

State of emergency in Papua New Guinea after riots

rmt/rc (AFP, Reuters)