Australian Archaeologist Kidnapped In Papua New Guinea Released By Captors
Australian archaeologist kidnapped in Papua New Guinea released by captors. Bryce Barker, who works as a professor at the University of Southern Queensland, was abducted by a group of armed men while he was conducting archaeological research in the country's highlands.
The abduction took place on Sunday, February 20, 2023, and Barker's coworkers alerted the authorities when he failed to return from his research after failing to disclose his whereabouts for several hours. Barker and his kidnappers were the subject of a search operation that was initiated by the police of Papua New Guinea, and the Australian government also provided help to the investigation.
The kidnappers reportedly asked for a ransom of 20 million kina, which is equivalent to around 4.9 million dollars in US currency, in order to free Barker. However, the authorities have not divulged the specifics of how the professor was finally allowed to leave the building.
His peers in the academic world as well as the general public have expressed their joy over Barker's freedom. The University of Southern Queensland released a statement in which it expressed its relief at Barker's safe return and thanked the authorities for their efforts in achieving his release. The statement also commended Barker for his service.
Concerns have also been expressed over the security of international researchers working in Papua New Guinea, which has a well-deserved reputation for having a high incidence of violent crime. The authorities in this country have a tough time maintaining law and order because of the country's harsh terrain and lack of infrastructure. As a result, kidnappings for the purpose of receiving a ransom are not uncommon.
COPYRIGHT_BP: Published on https://bingepost.com/australian-archaeologist-kidnapped-in-papua-new-guinea-released-by-captors/ by Hilda Workman on 2023-02-26T23:23:28.778Z
Criminals in Papua New Guinea have targeted scholars from other countries before, so this is not the first time it has happened. Two German tourists were murdered in the country's highlands in 2019, while an American researcher was kidnapped and held for ransom the following year in 2021.
The government of Australia has issued travel warnings for Papua New Guinea, asking its nationals to exercise an extremely high level of caution while traveling in the country. In addition to this, the University of Southern Queensland has said that it will be reevaluating the guidelines and protocols it follows when sending researchers to Papua New Guinea.
The Risks Of Fieldwork
Archaeological fieldwork often involves working in remote areas where access to modern infrastructure and communication technologies may be limited. This can make researchers vulnerable to a range of risks, including accidents, illnesses, and criminal activities. The risks are particularly high in countries with weak governance and high levels of social unrest, such as Papua New Guinea.
According to a report by the Australian National University, Papua New Guinea is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for foreign nationals. The report cites high levels of violent crime, including armed robbery, carjacking, and kidnapping, as well as social unrest, tribal conflicts, and political instability.
Despite these risks, many researchers continue to work in the country and the wider region, driven by the desire to uncover new knowledge about the past and the present. However, the recent incident involving Bryce Barker has highlighted the need for researchers to take their safety seriously and to take steps to mitigate the risks of fieldwork.
It is anticipated that Barker will arrive back in Australia in the coming days. Reports indicate that he is in good health. Since he was kidnapped, his family, colleagues, and the larger academic community have been genuinely concerned about his safety. Hence, his safe return is a welcome relief for all of these groups.