RI supports major Philippine military operations in Sulu

"The Philippines appears to be very serious (about freeing 11 Indonesian sailors being held hostage) by conducting major operations," Vice President Jusuf Kalla said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian government fully supports major military operations being undertaken by the Philippines in the Sulu Sea, which is the stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf armed group.

"The Philippines appears to be very serious (about freeing 11 Indonesian sailors being held hostage) by conducting major operations," Vice President Jusuf Kalla said at a routine press conference held after Friday prayers.

The sailors were abducted by the Abu Sayyaf armed group.

"For the umpteenth time, the government has stated that we want to free the hostages through G-to-G scheme," he said.

The vice president said he did not want to pursue the path of negotiations as it would eventually add to more problems, including demand for ransom.

"Admittedly, everything entails a risk, but it is a risk that we will take and it must be a reasonable risk," he added.

As part of the military operations, the Philippines is deploying its air force and army personnel.

An Indonesian citizen who worked as captain of a Malaysian registered vessel was abducted, bringing to 11 the number of Indonesians being held hostage by the armed group.

The 38-year-old Indonesian, identified as Herman bin Manggak, was believed to have been kidnapped while catching shrimp in Kinabatangan waters in Sabah near its border with the Philippines on August 3.(*)

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