Three people including an Australian pilot were kidnapped in Papua

Three people, including an Australian pilot, were kidnapped in Papua New Guinea

An Australian helicopter pilot and two other people were kidnapped in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, a region hit by violence in recent years, the country's police chief said on Monday.

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“We are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible,” Commissioner David Manning said, confirming the pilot’s nationality and adding that police forces were on duty.

The pilot and two others, believed to be telecommunications workers, were arrested near Mount Sisa in the central province of Hela.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape told AFP that “the Australian High Commissioner has been informed” and that police and defense forces are currently visiting the area.

A wave of kidnappings and tribal violence in the highlands of New Guinea has left several hundred dead in recent years.

Last week more than 50 bodies were found along a main road after clashes between rival clans.

The government is under great pressure to strengthen security in the region.

“I would like to inform everyone that crime is not worthwhile but ultimately leads to the arrest or death of criminals, and that is why I appreciate the help that residents are providing to the police even during this time,” Mr Marape said.

Police Commissioner David Manning said he had no further information at this time, but said the suspected attackers appeared to be “not from the area” at this point.