JAKARTA (Reuters) – A rebel group in Indonesia’s Papua said on Wednesday it will release New Zealand pilot, Philip Mehrtens, who has been held hostage in the remote eastern region for a year.

It was unclear when Mehrtens would be released.

The chief of general staff of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), Terianus Satto, said in a statement the pilot will be released in order to protect humanity and safeguard human rights.

New Zealand’s ministry of foreign affairs and trade did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Ananda Teresia and Stanley Widianto; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)

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