Seven Indonesians Kidnapped in Southern Philippines: Foreign Affairs Minister
Date 24 Juni 2016
Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi confirmed that seven Indonesian sailors were kidnapped at Sulu Sea in Southern Philippines on Monday (20/6).
This is the third abduction of Indonesians in recent months.
The crew was towing a coal barge when their Indonesian-flagged tugboats, Charles 001 and Robby 152, were hijacked by armed groups.
After we communicate with Indonesian and the Philippine authorities, on 23 June2016, it was confirmed that those Indonesian sailors kidnapped, Retno said to reporters at the office of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday (24/6).
The Minister added that the kidnapping happened in two separate attacks the first at around 11.30 am local time and the second at around 12.45 am local time by two different groups of gunmen.
When the incident happened, there were 13 Indonesian sailors on the two tugboats, with 7 of them being taken hostage and six others being freed, Retno said.
The freed sailors are now on the way to Samarinda, East Kalimantan, Retno added.
On behalf of the Indonesian Government, Retno condemned repeated kidnapping of Indonesians by armed groups in Southern Philippines.
This is the third time Indonesians were kidnapped by militant groups in the Philippines. It cannot be tolerated at all, she said, adding that the Indonesian Government would take every effort to free the Indonesians.
“The safety of these seven Indonesian citizens is our priority,” Retno said.
The Indonesian Government also urges the Philippines Government to ensurethe security in the waters around southern Philippines so that economic activities in its surrounding areas are not affected.
Retno further said that the Indonesian Government is also ready to cooperate with the Philippine Government to free the hostages.
On Friday (24/6), a coordinating meeting was held by the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs and involved related sides to take measured, fast, and secure steps to free the Indonesians.
For the record, Abu Sayyaf militants had abducted 10 Indonesian sailors on March 29, and another four on April 15. All have been released in May. (DitinfomedKemlu/ES) (EP/YM/Naster)