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Jakarta Post

Jokowi says diplomacy to free hostages still ongoing


    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, April 9, 2016   /  10:27 am
Jokowi says diplomacy to free hostages still ongoing This picture shows members of the Abu Sayyaf militant group in the Philippines. (Associated Press/-)

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has said the government will continue its efforts to free 10 Indonesian crewmen held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf militant group in the Philippines, even though the deadline expired on Friday.

The group has demanded a ransom of US$1 million in exchange for the hostages.

"There is continuous communication and diplomacy between the two countries and also communication with the hostage-takers. But we cannot reveal anything at the moment because it's an ongoing process," Jokowi said as quoted by on Friday evening.

When asked about the latest developments in the hostage crisis, Jokowi decided to remain silent. "I cannot say anything," the President said.

The Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, an Islamic fundamentalist movement located in the southern Philippines, has contacted the owner of the ships twice since March 26.

Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung said if the Philippines could not release the 10 Indonesian nationals, then the government was ready to secure their release.

Jokowi has been informed by Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo and National Police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti that Indonesia’s security forces are ready to conduct an operation.

"Yesterday, the National Police chief and TNI commander reported to the President. If the Philippines cannot resolve the situation, we can do so if permitted," Pramono said on Friday.

"From satellite monitoring, we already know their exact location. To be honest, we know all the details. But we are respecting the Philippine government," he added. (liz/bbn)

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