The Jakarta Post
Indonesia has confirmed that two of its citizens have been rescued in the Philippines where they had been being held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf militant group for 90 days.
Previously, AFP reported that a Philippine military official said that Philippine troops had rescued two abducted Indonesian sailors in a predawn raid on Sunday on an Islamist militant stronghold that left two dead. One soldier and a militant from the kidnap-for-ransom group Abu Sayyaf were killed during a 30-minute gunfight in the mountainous town of Panamao on the southern island of Jolo.
The Indonesian Foreign Ministry said that “following the intensive collaboration between Indonesian intelligence agencies and the Philippine military, the rescue operation managed to identify the location of hostage takers and in the morning of Dec. 22 [Sunday], firefights occurred.”
"In the operation, two Indonesian citizens, identified [only] by their initials SM and ML, were rescued. Meanwhile, the rescue of one Indonesian citizen identified as MF is still being planned. SM and ML will undergo a medical examination and will soon be repatriated to Indonesia,” the ministry said in a press statement received by The Jakarta Post.
The two were among three Indonesian fishermen abducted by the militants in September in waters near the southern tip of the Philippine island of Mindanao, according to AFP.
In the efforts to rescue the two fishermen, Indonesia, according to the Foreign Ministry, took diplomatic measures at all levels, including communication between President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte, as well as coordination between Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
The Foreign Ministry expressed its appreciation for the efforts by the Philippine government and offered condolences over the death of the Philippine soldier in the operation. (dis/ipa)