Indonesia not giving up on Abu Sayyaf hostages
JAKARTA—Indonesian authorities say they will not give up on their attempt to secure the release of 10 Indonesian sailors being held hostage by hardline militant group Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, despite the ransom payment deadline inching ever closer.
Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said that every effort to secure the release of the hostages was “well monitored,” adding that Jakarta had intensified its coordination with Manila authorities.
“Well, the situation is not easy. However, we’d like to underline that we are not going to give up and will try our best to secure the release of the 10 Indonesians,” Retno said on Thursday.
Retno also revealed that she had received valid information that the 10 Indonesians, kidnapped in waters near the Philippines, were in good condition. Various media reports have stated that a ransom payment deadline had been set for Friday (May 8).
Indonesia’s Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said that, should the ransom be paid, “The ransom fund would not make use of the state budget because our country cannot be dictated [by anyone]”.
Ryamizard expressed optimism that Indonesia would be able to secure their release through negotiation and emphasized that a military operation would only result in casualties.
Philippine authorities have yet to ask for military assistance from Indonesia although, according to Ryamizard, the government has offered to provide prompt assistance should Manila send such request.
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