Three Indonesian hostages in Philippines freed: Defense minister

"It is clear that the Indonesian and Philippine governments did not to spend even a single cent for paying the ransom," Ryacudu said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Three Indonesian hostages held by the Abu Sayyaf militant group in the Philippines were released early Sunday, Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu confirmed.

They were taken hostage after their vessel was hijacked by the group in Malaysias Lahat Datu waters in July.

"We hope another Indonesian can be freed soon following the release of the three yesterday," he told journalists at the Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Base here Sunday evening after his arrival from the Philippines.

The release of the three Indonesian sailors along with a Norwegian national was the result of a negotiation process that the Philippines government, co-ordinated by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), held with their abductors, he said.

However, the Philippine and Indonesian governments did not pay a ransom to free Lorens Lagadoni Koten, 34, Teodorus Kopong Koten, 42, and Emanuel Arakian Maran, 46, Ryacudu said.

"It is clear that the Indonesian and Philippine governments did not to spend even a single cent for paying the ransom," he said.

The three Indonesian sailors still had to undergo a medical check-up in Zamboanga.

They had been handed over by the Indonesian Defense Ministry to the Indonesian Embassy authorities.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry will soon transport them back to Indonesia.

The Indonesian government had a strong belief in Manilas seriousness in rescuing the Indonesian hostages being held captive by the Abu Sayyaf militant group, Ryacudu had affirmed in August.

This was apparent by the Philippines recent military operations against the Abu Sayyaf groups positions, which led to the deaths of at least 115 militants, he had said.(*)

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