The Jakarta Post
The government says it has not paid a ransom to secure the release of Indonesian sailors taken hostage by Philippine militant group Abu Sayyaf.
"The process is costly, however, the basic principle is that the government will never pay a ransom," the Foreign Ministry's director for the protection of Indonesian nationals and entities abroad, Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, told reporters on Thursday.
Iqbal was responding to media questions about funds the Abu Sayyaf group reportedly received to let the Indonesian citizens go. He said the government did not engage directly in any transactions with terrorists.
"Rumors always circulate whenever similar cases occur," Iqbal said.
The Abu Sayyaf group released four Indonesian crewmen last week after holding them as hostages for more than a month. Another five sailors, all crewmen of the Indonesian-operated tugboat Charles, remain in captivity with the militant group.
The government was continuing efforts for the release of the five men through an intelligence operation across the Philippines and Malaysia, Iqbal said.
He noted that the process for the release of the sailors, who were abducted in southern Philippine waters in late July, was taking longer than in earlier hostage cases due to a more complex situation. The hostages were held by two militant sub-groups, and a complicated political situation in the field exacerbated the situation, he added.
Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi maintained close contact with a top Philippine negotiator involved in the rescue effort and continued to closely monitor the situation, Iqbal said. (rin)
Your premium period will expire in 0 day(s)close x