Australian university professor confirmed as hostage in Papua New Guinea

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An Australian university professor has been taken hostage in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, Papua New Guinea’s prime minister has confirmed.

The Australian man is an archaeologist who works for an Australian university and was accompanied on a field trip by several Papua New Guinean students from a local university who were also taken hostage, two sources with knowledge of the incident told Reuters.

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Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape told local reporters on Monday that police and the military were on stand-by, and the government was working with missionaries who were acting as mediators.

“We want those criminals to release those who are held in captivity,” he said in comments broadcast on ABC Television.

“There is no place to run, there is no place to hide,” Marape added.

The man has not been publicly identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.

A source in Papua New Guinea told Reuters on Monday morning the situation was in “a crucial moment” and they could not comment further. It is believed a ransom has been demanded.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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