Australian professor among three hostages released in Papua New Guinea: Report

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An Australian professor, held for a week by armed men in a remote part of Papua New Guinea, has been released along with two local colleagues, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported on Sunday.

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A group of archaeology researchers, including the professor working for an Australian university, two Papua New Guinean university graduates and a program coordinator were taken hostage by last Sunday by men demanding a cash ransom, officials have said.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the reported release of the team in the Pacific Island nation.

The group were on a trip to the remote village of Fogoma’iu in the Mount Bosavi region, near the boundary of Southern Highlands and Hela provinces when they were seized.

Release of the three would end days of negotiations and a security operation involving Papua New Guinea police and defense personnel, in consultation with the Australian and New Zealand governments, according to the ABC.

The professor is an Australian resident and New Zealand citizen. Reuters has not named the members of the group because of the sensitivity of the situation.

A woman hostage, also one of the three, was released earlier. At that time, Papua New Guinea police said they were working for a “peaceful resolution” to the situation.

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