After spending a week held hostage by an equipped group demanding a ransom successful Papua New Guinea’s distant Highlands region, an archaeologist is expected to return to Australia soon.
On Monday, constabulary and soldiers were hunting nan group of astir 20 gunmen who connected Sunday released New Zealand national Bryce Barker, a professor astatine Australia’s University of Southern Queensland, and Papua New Guinea nationals Jemina Haro and Teppsy Beni.
The 3 were taken captive Feb. 19 while conducting fieldwork astatine Mount Bosavi successful nan wilds of nan South Pacific land nation. A 4th hostage had already been released.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA KIDNAPPERS RELEASE 1 OF 5 HOSTAGES, AUTHORITIES STILL NEGOTIATING FOR FREEDOM OF OTHER 4
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong tweeted Sunday that nan erstwhile hostages "will soon beryllium reunited pinch their families."
The 3 were flown to Papua New Guinea’s superior Port Moresby wherever they were welcomed by nan nation’s Prime Minister James Marape.
Bryce Barker, 2nd to nan right, who was held hostage for a week successful Papua New Guinea by an equipped group, is being escorted from a level pursuing his merchandise connected Feb. 26, 2023. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)
"It was a random, opportunistic crime that took place, but thing that I condemned successful nan various strongest position possible," Marape told reporters.
He said nan 3 hostages were secured "through covert operations" without paying nan $993,000 ransom. However, media reports opportunity a importantly smaller ransom had been paid.
ARMED CRIMINALS HOLDING 4 HOSTAGE IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Kidnap for ransom is an uncommon crime successful Papua New Guinea, a tribal nine of 9 cardinal group who are mostly subsistence farmers.
Marape said constabulary remained wished to drawback nan perpetrators.
"Let maine show each nan criminals: Police firepower is ever higher than criminal firepower. I will not tolerate this benignant of delirium anymore," Marape told reporters, adding that constabulary and soldiers remained astatine nan crime scene.
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USQ Vice-Chancellor Geraldine Mackenzie said Sunday nan assemblage was relieved to perceive their much-loved workfellow and his investigation squad had been released.
"Bryce is simply a highly regarded archaeologist and a weighted workfellow astatine nan University of Southern Queensland and successful nan wider archaeological community. He has galore years acquisition successful undertaking investigation successful PNG," Mackenzie said. "Our deepest acknowledgment spell to nan governments of Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand, and nan galore group who worked tirelessly during this highly difficult and delicate clip to unafraid their release."