Hostages in The Philippines in good condition: minister

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has said Indonesian citizens being detained by the Abu Sayyaf militant group in the southern Philippines are in good condition.

"Based on the information we received in Manila, as well as Jakarta, the condition of all ten members of the Indonesian crew is good," Marsudi said here on Thursday.

The ministry continues to coordinate with Philippines authorities to free the hostages. She added that all activities by the hostages are being monitored by the Philippines security agency.

Further, Retno said that the Indonesian government is working to free the hostages.

Additionally, the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, said the cooperation of the ships owners includes their willingness to pay the ransom being demanded by the Abu Sayyaf militant group.

Binsar said the company is ready to pay the ransom to see the release of the vessel's crew.

He noted that the Indonesian government is still coordinating with Philippines authorities to free the hostages.

Indonesia, says Binsar, cannot deploy security personnel to the Philippines, due to constitutional regulations.

"We understand the regulation. The best effort that we can provide is through the assistance from Indonesian special forces," the Minister said.

According to the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), besides the 10 Indonesian citizens, there were also 11 citizens from Canada, the Netherlands, Norway and the Philippines who are being held by the group.

The Abu Sayyaf group has demanded a 50 million peso ransom, or about Rp14.2 billion, with a deadline of March 31, 2016 to release the 10 Indonesians hostages taken aboard the Anand 12 vessel. The deadline has been extended by six days.

(UU.B019/INE)
(UU.B019/A/KR-BSR/A014)

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