After a week in captivity, the last three hostages have been released by an armed group in Papua New Guinea. Prime Minister James Marape confirmed the release of the hostages, which included Australian professor Bryce Barker and two of his colleagues.
The three were kidnapped by a group of unidentified gunmen in the country’s Southern Highlands region last week. Marape said the hostages were released after negotiations between the kidnappers and the government, and thanked the local communities for their support in the release.
“I am pleased to announce that the three hostages have been released and are safe and in good health,” Marape said.
The hostages were reportedly held in a remote jungle area and were released after the kidnappers received a ransom payment. The amount of the payment has not been disclosed.
Marape said the government was committed to ensuring the safety and security of its people and would take all necessary measures to protect them. He also urged the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the authorities.
The kidnapping was the latest in a series of incidents in the region, which has seen a rise in crime in recent years. It is believed the kidnappers were seeking to make a political statement and had targeted the professor and his colleagues due to their work in the region.
The hostages’ release brings to an end a week of tension and uncertainty for the families of the victims and for the people of Papua New Guinea.