Archaeologist Free After ‘Covert’ Rescue Mission

(Photo by AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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A New Zealand archaeologist and two of his colleagues were rescued from a kidnapping situation in Papua New Guinea on Sunday.

Archaeologist Bryce Parker, a New Zealand citizen who resides in Australia, was captured at gunpoint, along with three colleagues, during a field trip to Mount Bosavi a week prior to the rescue operation, the BBC reported. One of his fellow captives escaped Thursday, and the remaining three were found Sunday and flown back home Monday, France 24 noted.

Their release comes after a week-long negotiation between police in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the gang of armed kidnappers. The gang demanded 3.5 million PNG Kina (roughly $994,000) but the hostages were rescued “through covert operations,” the BBC reported.

“We apologise to the families of those taken as hostages for ransom,” PNG’s Prime Minister James Marape said of the situation. “To criminals, there is no profit in crime. We thank God that life was protected.” (RELATED: Another Renowned Archaeologist Was Just Fired For No Reason. Why Does This Keep Happening?)

Two of those held with Parker were women named Jemina Haro, Teppsy Beni, and Cathy Alex, who were all part of his research team, Australia Broadcasting Corporation reported.

New Zealand pilot Philip Mehrtens is currently being held in Papua, which is under the control of Indonesia, the BBC reported. He was kidnapped after landing his plane in a remote mountain province. He’s being held by the West Papua National Liberation Army, who are demanding Papua be given independence from Indonesia in exchange for his safe return.