Australian professor kidnapped from a remote Papua New Guinea village by an armed gang demanding a $1.4million ransom

An Australian professor of archaeology has been taken hostage at gunpoint from a community in the isolated Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea by a local gang.

Over 20 armed “thugs” have kidnapped the Queensland professor and three recent university grads and are holding them for a ransom of 3.5 million Kina ($1.43 million AUD).

A New Zealand pilot was kidnapped in West Papua two weeks prior to this incident; Papua authorities now believe they have found the pilot and have dispatched a team to retrieve him.

The professor had earlier started a research to investigate ancient artifacts on the Great Papuan Plateau, and had just recently returned to the little settlement of Fogoma’iu in the Mount Bosavi region.

The professor, who is in his 50s and his fellow hostages are reportedly considered ‘safe at the moment’ as the PNG Government negotiates their rescue, saying the kidnappers would be treated ‘fairly’ if the captives were released unharmed.

But if not, police would ‘use lethal force’, PNG’s Police Commissioner David Manning said in a statement.

Describing the gunmen as ‘opportunists’ and the situation as ‘delicate’, Mr. Manning he said ‘our specialised security force personnel will use whatever means necessary against the criminals, up to and including the use of lethal force, in order to provide for the safety and security of the people being held’.

He said the abductors were being offered ‘a way out’ and would face court if they released the hostages, ‘but failure to comply and resisting arrest could cost these criminals their lives.’

The Australian scientist is reportedly trying to argue down the ransom sum, according to volunteer community development worker Sally Lloyd who said he was ‘keen to have the matter resolved obviously’, The Australian reported.

Local missionaries who had spoken to the professor by satellite phone had confirmed to the PNG government that he and the other hostages were alive.

related video

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.