Crime & Justice

Australian academic, three colleagues taken hostage in Papua New Guinea

Sydney, Australia, Feb 20 (EFE).- An Australian university professor and three colleagues have been taken hostage by an armed group in a remote area of Papua New Guinea (PNG), officials confirmed on Monday.

The Australian archaeologist, who has not yet been named, as well as a Papua New Guinean program coordinator and two University of PNG graduates, were taken hostage while they were conducting research in the central Highlands region, Australian public broadcaster ABC reported.

Local guides were also taken but later released, it added.

The kidnappers demand the governments of Australia and PNG pay 3.5 million kina (about $970,000) to release the captives, Australian news agency AAP reported.

PNG Prime Minister James Marape told reporters on Monday in Port Moresby that the country’s authorities were having “running conversations” with the kidnappers, and that missionaries and villagers in the area were acting as intermediaries.

“We’ve got police and military on stand-by to assist,” added Marape, according to ABC.

The Australian government has not commented on the incident. EFE


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