Tuesday, August 14, 2012

1) Released climbers aware of Papua risks‎

2) West Papua militia free NZ climbers

RNZI Posted at 06:54 on 14 August, 2012 UTC
A New Zealand climber says a group who were detained by a local militia in Indonesia’s Papua province went to the area with their eyes open.
The group of ten, including four New Zealanders, were in the restive province to climb Mount Carstensz.
They were confronted by a group of men armed with machetes and bows and arrows, and held for several hours.
The expedition’s leader, Mike Roberts, says even the group’s local guide was surprised by the aggression shown.
“The New Zealand travel advisory does a good job, and I think everybody in our group went in there with eyes open. They knew their were conflicts happening. The norm is that the separatist group is smart enough to know that to give their cause credibility, they should keep away from tourists.”
Mike Roberts says the group has abandoned the attempt to climb the mountain, but at least some of them will attempt it again.


2) West Papua militia free NZ climbers

New Zealand tourists held hostage in West Papua have been freed after their group did not have the $130,000 their armed captors demanded.

Three New Zealand tourists held hostage by armed militia in West Papua have been freed unharmed by their captors.
Sydney-based mountaineer Christine Burke, who is from Timaru, told Radio New Zealand her party of 10 was on a climbing expedition when they were detained by anti-government militia.
The militia were armed with guns, bows and arrows, and machetes and demanded $130,000 for the return of their passports.
However, they did not have the money and after being detained on Sunday, were released on Monday.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) says it is not aware of any of them being injured.
Three of the climbers were New Zealanders and a further two may hold dual nationality and be travelling on other passports.
Ms Burke says the Australian and New Zealand governments should be doing more to highlight the risk of attacks on foreigners.
However, MFAT advises against all tourist and other non-essential travel to Central Sulawesi, Maluku and Papua provinces.
West Papua, the western peninsula of the island of New Guinea, is a province of Indonesia.
MFAT says political tensions associated with anti-government groups, local rivalries and possible deliberate provocation can lead to violent clashes.
Sporadic violence has occurred in recent months and there have been unexplained shootings.
"There is a risk of kidnapping in Papua province," the Safetravel.govt.nz website says.

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