Australian pilot, two passengers kidnapped at gunpoint in Papua New Guinea highlands

SYDNEY, Feb 26: An Australian pilot and two local workers have been kidnapped in the remote highlands of Papua New Guinea, police said in a statement on Monday.

The helicopter pilot and passengers had landed at a remote telecommunications site near Mount Sisa in Hela province when an armed group took them away at gunpoint on Monday afternoon, Papua New Guinea police commissioner David Manning said in a statement.

“All indications are that the three captives remain unhurt even though they are being held captive,” he said.

“Negotiations with the assailants are currently underway and police are closing in on the area.”

Manning said police have been cleared to use lethal force against the kidnappers.

Australia’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The trio were kidnapped in the same province where almost a year ago to the day, an Australian archaeologist and two Papua New Guinean researchers were taken and held for more than a week until a ransom was paid.

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