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Jakarta Post

Released hostages make quiet return to Indonesia

  • Liza Yosephine
    Liza Yosephine

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, September 26, 2016   /  02:13 pm
Released hostages make quiet return to Indonesia Security talks — Indonesian Military commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo (left to right), his Malaysian counterpart Gen. Zulkifeli Mohd. Zin, Malaysia's Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, her Filipino counterpart Foreign Minister Jose Rene Almendras and the Philippine Navy’s chief Rear Adm. Caesar C. Taccad confer as they prepare for a group photo before the start of their trilateral meeting on maritime security issues at the Presidential Palace in Yogyakarta on May 5. The gathering was held following the kidnapping of Indonesian and Malaysian crewmen by Abu Sayyaf militants in waters off the southern Philippines where Indonesia shares borders with the two countries. (AP/Rana Dyandra)

Four Indonesian hostages released by the Abu Sayyaf group returned to Indonesia over the weekend, an official has confirmed.

"They departed from the Philippines on Saturday and the process was handled by the Foreign Ministry," Wibanarto Eugenius, ministerial counselor at the Indonesian Embassy in Manila, told The Jakarta Post on Monday. 

He added that along with usual procedures, the four Indonesian sailors would undergo medical check-ups in Jakarta before they returned to their families in their respective hometowns. 

Three of the captives, namely Theodorus Kopong Koten, Lorens Koten and Emmanuel, were crewmen on board a Malaysian-flagged boat hijacked by Abu Sayyaf militants in Lahat Datu waters, Malaysia, on July 9.

The fourth sailor, Harman Manggak, was the captain of another Malaysian-flagged fishing boat attacked by armed militants in Sabah waters on Aug. 3.

The men were released on two separate occasions last week. The government has claimed that no ransom was paid for their release. 

Unlike previous hostage releases, the government stayed quiet about the return of the sailors, providing no public information on their arrival time or a ceremony to mark the official handover to their families. 

Five other Indonesian sailors remain in captivity. They have been held since June 21 by the Philippine militant group, which is notorious for extracting ransom payments in return for the lives of hostages. (ebf)

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