The Jakarta Post
The families of seven Indonesian sailors captured by the Abu Sayyaf group in the southern Philippines are calling on the government to ensure the safe release of their loved ones as the militants have vowed to execute them if ransom not paid on Monday.
“What we can do is just pray. Hopefully, all hostages are safe and healthy. It is hoped the government can strive to immediately release them,” said the hostage families’ spokesperson, identified only as Capt. Ginting, in Samarinda.
Abu Sayyaf militants kidnapped seven crew members from the Indonesian-flagged tugboat Charles 001, which was pulling a barge carrying coal to the Philippines on June 21. The militants have asked for Rp 60 billion (US$4.58 million) that they said must be paid on Aug.15.
The TB Charles belongs to shipping company PP Rusianto Bersaudara. Most of its crew members live in Samarinda. As of Monday, the seven crew members were still being held captive by the militant group and no information has emerged about their condition.
Information received from several hostages permitted to communicate with their families in Indonesia last week revealed that some of the sailors were ill. A hostage family member identified only as Risna said her cousin M. Sofyan, the tugboat’s oilman, was reportedly suffering from gastritis.
“Sofyan contacted me and also other sailor families, saying they were lacking food. They had to share their food with each other and sometimes they didn’t eat,” she told The Jakarta Post.
Citing information from Sofyan, Risna said two sailors, M. Nasir and M. Robin, were currently suffering from severe infections in their legs. Robin was reportedly very weak and barely spoke. (ebf)
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