Jakarta envoy in Sulu to seek release of 11 Indonesian hostages
ZAMBOANGA CITY—Jakarta has sent a high-ranking diplomat to Sulu, where the Abu Sayyaf continues to hold 11 Indonesian as hostages.
Johny Josephus Lumintang, Indonesia’s ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Philippines, told the Inquirer before sailing for Sulu on Friday that he was hoping his captive countrymen would be released soon.
“I would like to ask the government and the people of Sulu to help our brothers out there, to help us, because we all look the same, you see Filipinos and Indonesians are very similar in all features, we all look the same, so we need to end this (kidnapping),” Lumintang said.
At least 11 Indonesians sailors, who were taken in the waters between Sabah and Tawi-tawi early this month and in June, have remained in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf.
They were identified as Abd. Rahim Summas, 62; Tayudin Anjut, 45; Fandy Bakran, 26; Mohammad Jumadil Rahim, 23; Mohd. Ridzuan Ismail, 32; Capt. Feri Arifin; Muhammad Mahbrur Dahri; Edy Suryono; Lorens Koten, 34; Teo Dorus Kopong, 42; and Emmanuel Race, 46.
Lumintang said he was hoping that something positive would happen during his visit.
“We don’t know for sure but I hope that as soon as possible, our brothers will come out safe and our brothers in the Philippines will help to release them,” he said.
Lumintang confirmed that a retired general—who personally knew Nur Misuari—was working with Sulu officials for the release of the Indonesian captives.
In the past, the Abu Sayyaf had kidnapped and released Indonesian captives but it was not clear if ransom had been paid.
Lumintang said he would also like to personally thank those who helped in previous releases of Indonesian kidnap victims.
“Why I am here? Because of the government of Sulu and the Western Mindanao Command. They helped in the release of our people taken as hostages. I have been wanting to see (Sulu and Westmincom officials) to say thank you but our schedules were all tight, we were all busy until finally this is the time to come just to say thank you but we still have 10 more Indonesians,” he added.
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