Four Indonesian Hostages Freed by Abu Sayyaf Return to Families
Ministry of Foreign Affairs assisted four Indonesian ship crew taken hostage by the Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf militant to reunite with families after 1 year and 3 months. The four men were the last Indonesian hostages in captivity of the militant group.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi conveyed her appreciation to all sides who helped to secure the release of the hostages.
“Allow me to deliver my highest appreciation to those who have collaborated for helping the hostage release process, particularly the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI), the National Intelligence Agency (BIN), and the Government of the Philippines through the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom),” said the Minister in a hostage handover ceremony, on Monday (5/4), at the Ministry’s office, Jakarta.
According to the Minister, 44 Indonesian citizens had been taken hostage by Abu Sayyaf group since 2016. She added that the Government will strengthen the aspect of prevention by increasing security in Sabah waters through cooperation with Malaysian, Indonesian, and the Philippines authorities.
“On top of that, Indonesian crew working at Malaysian fishing vessels must increase their vigilance. We will intensify communications with owners of the vessels in Malaysia. In addition, the economic situation in the crew’s hometown must be further improved,” she firmly said.
For the record, the four ship crew members were abducted in Tambisan waters, Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia, on 16 January 2020. They were then held captive in Sulu, a province of the Philippines, by Abu Sayyaf militant.
Three crew were rescued on 18 March 2021, while the other one was rescued on 21 March 2021 after being held captive for 427 days. They were flown to capital Manila on 21 March 2021 before being returned to the country.
Upon their return to Indonesia on 30 March 2021, they underwent quarantine and took PCR test before meeting their families. Their release marks that there are no more Indonesian citizens being taken hostage by Abu Sayyaf group. (MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS PR/UN) (RAS/MUR)