10-Indonesian-hostages-in-Philippines-released-by-Abu-Sayyaf-terror-group. JAKARTA, Ten Indonesian hostages held since March by the Islamist extremist group Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines were released Sunday, Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced.
He said the prisoners were in “good condition” and were likely to arrive in Jakarta on Sunday night. The Indonesian government is seeking the release of four other sailors, the government said.
The sailors were abducted from a barge off the waters of southern Philippines on March 26.
A person claiming to be from Abu Sayyaf contacted the ship’s owners and demanded ransom, according to Indonesian officials.
The hostages were dropped off near the house of Gov. Toto Tan of Sulu in the capital town of Jolo.
After feeding them, Tan contacted the military and police. They were taken to the Philippine Army base.
Indonesia was prepared to send police commandos to the Philippines to rescue the hostages. “There have been a lot of efforts by the local and provincial governments and the military and police in securing the safe release not only of the Indonesians, but other hostages as well,” Tan told The Manila Times in a phone interview. “The recovery of the 10 Indonesians is good news. We hope and pray that the others may also walk freely away from their captors.”
Their release comes after ongoing military operations against the group.
On April 16, a group of gunmen took four crew members hostage from an Indonesian tugboat while traveling from the Philippines to Indonesia. No group has taken responsibility for the kidnapping but it is believed that the gunmen were members of the militant group Abu Sayyaf who have been connected with the Islamic State.
By Allen Cone