By: Elena Grace Flores
Abu Sayyaf Group or ASG recently kidnapped seven Indonesian sailors in the Sulu Sea as per the announcement of Indonesian authorities announced the incident that the Armed Forces of the Philippines just recently confirmed.
AFP’s Western Mindanao Command o WesMinCom two motorized boats with armed men intercepted the Indonesian’s tugboat while en route to Indonesia in the Sulu Sea around 11 a.m. last June 22. Seven out of the 13 crewmen on board the Indonesia tugboat were taken as hostahes by the rebels.
The boat’s captain managed to called his wife in Indonesia to let her know that the kidnappers were asking 20 million Malaysian ringgit for his release. GMA reported that Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi firmly said: “We absolutely do not tolerate this. The government will try all options to free the hostages,”. Since March, already 17 Indonesians had been kidnapped by Abbu Sayyaf and all had been released.
It is not clear however how they were released and if ransoms are paid – since Canadians refused paying ransoms in fear that their citizens can become easy targets that resulted to the beheading of 2 Canadians. Contrary to that, the previous Malaysian hostages were released after their government paid the agreed ransom. Negotiations are underway with the help of Philippine President Duterte for the one remaining Norwegian captive – after they released one Filipino.