The Jakarta Post
The Philippine constitution does not allow for Indonesian troops to be directly involved in rescuing 10 Indonesians held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf terror group in the country, National Police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti has said.
"In regards to the hostage issue, it is clear that we cannot provide assistance, cannot take action, because it is constitutionally not allowed. As such, we leave it entirely up to the Philippine government to handle the case," Badrodin said as quoted by tempo.co.
In the wake of a Philippine offensive against Abu Sayyaf that left 18 troops dead, Badrodin said the Indonesian authorities had asked the Philippine government to prioritize the safety of the hostages.
"We have asked that the main priority be to free the hostages safely," he added.
Previously, Hamsyar, the aunt of a hostage called Rinaldi, expressed her growing concern after watching TV reports of the deaths of the Philippine soldiers.
"I'm worried about Rinaldi's fate. I hope the hostages don't die too," Hamsyar told Tempo recently.
She expressed relief that the notorious extremists, known for a series of deadly attacks over recent decades, had extended the deadline for the payment of a ransom of 50 million pesos or Rp 14.2 billion (US$1.07 million) from April 8.
Two Indonesian-flagged vessels, the Brahma 12 tugboat and the Anand 12 barge, carrying 7,000 tons of coal and 10 Indonesian crewmen, were hijacked en route from the Puting River in South Kalimantan to Batangas in the southern Philippines. (liz/bbn)
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