The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian government has admitted it still faces an uphill battle to secure the release of seven Indonesians held hostage by a notorious Philippine militant group, as the reported deadline for their ransom payment falls on Monday.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arrmanatha Nasir said conditions in the field had become more complicated due to an ongoing military operation by the Philippine defense forces targeting the militants, as well as the ongoing conflict between the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Abu Sayyaf group.
"Communication and coordination with various parties in the Philippines still persists and we continue to urge the Philippine government to take steps to ensure the release of the hostages," Arrmanatha told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
The government continues to prioritize the safe release of the crew members of tugboat Charles, he added, without mentioning an official deadline. Citing information the ministry has received, Arrmanatha assured the public that the men were in good condition, albeit tired.
Meanwhile, kompas.com quoted spokesman for family members of the crew members, Kapten Ginting, as saying that several family members became frustrated as the Aug. 15 deadline approached. The relatives reportedly did not receive updated information from the government after a meeting in Jakarta last week as the deadline set by the Abu Sayyaf group for a Rp 60 billion (US$4.6 million) ransom for the seven men who were abducted on June 20 drew closer. (dmr)
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