Armed group has released its last three hostages in Papua New Guinea, says prime minister

A group of hostages being held for ransom by armed criminals in a remote region of Papua New Guinea have all now been freed, the country’s Prime Minister James Marape said Sunday.

“We apologize to the families of those taken as hostages for ransom, it took us a while but the last three have been successfully returned through covert operations with no (ransom) paid,” Marape wrote in a Facebook post.

A group of four hostages, which included foreign citizens and local guides, had been captured by a group of heavily armed men described by national police on Monday as “opportunists”, but one of them – a woman – was freed on Wednesday.

In a tweet on Sunday, New Zealand’s foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta welcomed the release of the group, which included a New Zealander who is a professor at an Australian university.