The Jakarta Post
The government has intensified coordination with the Philippines government, looking for the best option to save a group of sailors held captive by a militant group in Philippines waters, the foreign minister said on Thursday.
In the past three days, the Foreign Ministry and its Philippine counterpart have continued their joint efforts to save 10 Indonesian crewmen held as hostages by Abu Sayyaf militants, according to Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi.
Other Indonesians officials from the Indonesian Military (TNI), the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) and the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) have also been communicating intensively with their counterparts in the Philippines to maximize efforts, Retno said.
"We are now still looking for the best solution. As I said on Tuesday, the safety of the 10 Indonesian crewmen is our outmost priority," Retno said in a press briefing at the Foreign Ministry on Thursday.
The ministry confirmed on Tuesday that two Indonesian-flagged vessels, the Brahma 12 and Anand 12, had been hijacked in the Philippines by a group reported to be Abu Sayyaf. Tugboat Brahma 12 has since been handed to the Philippine authorities while the Anand 12, with 10 Indonesian crewmen, is still being held.
The notorious Southern-Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf militant group has contacted the vessels' owners and demanded a ransom of $1.08 million, setting a five-day deadline for the payment that began on March 26.
The Foreign Ministry has been leading negotiations with the hijackers, while consulting with all relevant parties to step up the measures for the rescue, Retno added.
"Indonesia appreciates the cooperation and the support of the Philippine government ," she added. (rin)
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