Philippine government discovers location of hijackers

Philippine government discovers location of hijackers

Band of Indonesian Marine Corps sniper unit with their ghillie suit prepared for their duty. Indonesian Armed Forces are now preparing counter terror and special operation task group to free 10 Indonesian civillian from Abu Sayyaf group in South Philippine. (ANTARA FOTO/M Risyal Hidayat)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Philippine government has discovered the location of the pirates who had hijacked an Indonesian vessel and its crew.

"The Philippine government has discovered the location of the pirates. They are located in the jurisdiction of the country. I will continue to monitor the situation," the Chief of Indonesian Armed Forces, General Gatot Nurmantyo, stated here on Wednesday.

If the Philippines needs Indonesia's assistance, the commander noted, the military was ready to help the country.

"Our priority is to save the Indonesian citizens," he remarked.

He stated that the TNI had sound cooperation with the Philippines.

"Abu Sayyaf militants, a group of Islamic extremists, who are behind the hijacking of the Indonesian vessel, have several factions in the Philippines. The factions are being monitored. We can assist them with the information," the commander affirmed.

Defense Minister, Ryamizard Ryacudu, earlier remarked that a military patrol boat had been readied to anticipate any eventualities.

However, Ryacudu noted that the military could not conduct any operations in the Philippines without obtaining prior permission from the authorities.

The minister affirmed that the hijacking of the Indonesian vessel was different from the piracy in Somalia.

Ryacudu has coordinated with his Philippine counterpart over the piracy issue.

"Indonesia continues to monitor the developments in the hostage situation," the minister remarked.

In addition, he said that the problem of piracy and illegal fishing can be controlled if Indonesia and the Philippines conduct joint maritime patrolling.

"Joint maritime patrols by Indonesia and the Philippines can combat piracy and illegal fishing," Ryacudu said here.

"However, the idea has yet to materialize," the minister stated.

He remarked that several countries had already established joint maritime patrols and cited the example of Japan and China, which conduct joint patrolling with the United States and Malaysia, respectively.

Such joint patrols will help secure Indonesian waters in the border areas and ensure proper monitoring.

According to national media, the Indonesian Embassy in Manila has confirmed that an Indonesian vessel was hijacked in the Philippines, and 10 Indonesian crewmen were taken hostage.

Embassy spokesperson Basriana could not confirm whether Abu Sayyaf militants were responsible for the hijacking of the Indonesian vessel.

The embassy continues to coordinate with the Indonesian Consulate General in Davao and other relevant authorities in the Philippines to gather more information on the situation.