Two Indonesian hostages released: Wiranto

The two Indonesian citizens are Sofyan and Ismail, Wiranto said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Wiranto revealed that two Indonesians, who were held hostage in South Philippines, had been rescued.

The two Indonesian citizens are Sofyan and Ismail, the minister noted after attending President Joko Widodos hospitality event held at the State Palace in Jakarta, Thursday.

Wiranto affirmed that the release of the two Indonesians abducted by an armed militant group in the Philippines is a gift for the country as it coincides with the 71st anniversary of Indonesias independence.

"This is a gift on the occasion of the anniversary of the countrys independence, as I received information that two of our kidnapped nationals have been released from the shackles of the terrorist groups. Sofyan is now in Zamboanga, and our Foreign Ministry has established contact with the Philippines," he remarked.

"We are hoping to continue making progress as the days go by. The Philippine government has adopted firm measures against the group by applying military or psychological pressure. Let us continue to pray for the remaining hostages, so they can be set free immediately as they have been abducted since long," he noted.

The minister was reluctant to reveal full details on the release efforts.

"It is a long story, but we shall wait for the rescued Indonesians to reveal the story," he stated.

Sofyan and Ismail are two of the seven crew members of Tugboat Charles. The boat was hijacked by an armed group in the Sulu waters of the Philippines on June 20.

Until now, nine Indonesian nationals are still being held captive by the group in the Philippines. The kidnappers are suspected to be members of the Abu Sayyaf group, which had earlier abducted several Indonesian boat crew members.

The Indonesian government had declined the groups demand for ransom in exchange for the hostages.(*)