The Jakarta Post
National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Anton Charliyan has said that the police are waiting for a decision from the Philippines regarding the rescue of 10 Indonesian citizens kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf militants.
The Indonesian government has reportedly been asked to wait until April 8 for a final decision. In the mean time, the two governments are negotiating with one another over how to secure the release of the Indonesian sailors kidnapped from the Brahma 12 and Anand 12 boats.
“The Foreign Ministry is still negotiating with the Philippine authorities to see whether there are enough troops from the Philippines or whether it is necessary to bring in troops from Indonesia," Anton said as quoted by Tempo.co on Monday.
Anton said the National Police had urged the Philippine government to make a decision as soon as possible. "Right now, speed is crucial. We have conveyed the possibility of providing Indonesian troops to help in the rescue," he added.
Anton said Indonesian Special Forces personnel were in place and ready for the rescue mission. They are currently conducting intensive training exercises in the border areas of Kalimantan, he said.
"Even though it's routine training activity, once we receive the green light from the Philippines to deploy, they are ready to carry out a rescue operation," said Anton.
He further said discussions between the National Police and the Foreign Ministry had considered all the risks involved.
He asked for the family members of the victims to wait patiently for a decision from the Philippine authorities.
Anton said that in his efforts to calm down the victims’ families, he had cited success stories in the past where Indonesian citizens had been taken hostage in Africa and were later released when the hostage-takers were successfully foiled.
"The forces that we send will depend on the Philippine government," he said.
Hamsyar, the aunt of the hostage Rinaldi, expressed the hope that the Indonesian government would immediately pay the ransom money. Hamsyar admitted that she was increasingly worried over the fate of her nephew.
"I am afraid that they will be killed if the government does not pay the ransom. We as a family hope that the government and the company pay the ransom," she said as reported by Tempo.co.
Hamsyar said she believed that the government would do their best to free the hostages.
"Hopefully, in the remaining four days, the government's efforts will result in the safe return of the hostages," she added.
PT Patria Maritime Lines, the operator of the Brahma 12 tugboat and Anand 12 barge, is rumored to have prepared the ransom money to free the victims, according to a source that spoke to Tempo. The information was offered up by M. Ridwansyah, a cousin of Halimatus Sa'adiah. Sa'adiah is the wife of Suriansyah, one of the crew members on the Brahma 12 tugboat.
"The company is actually ready to pay the ransom, but they are still coordinating with the government on the best possible option," said Ridwansyah when contacted on Monday.
The PT Patria Maritime Lines branch office in Banjarmasin refused to comment on the situation.
On Monday, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan gathered several ministers and high-ranking officials to discuss the rescue mission, including Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly, Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu and National Police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti. (liz/ebf)
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