Indonesian hostages return to their families

"They have all been sent back (to their families) today," the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Wiranto, said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Four Indonesian citizens who were held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines and were repatriated on Saturday have returned to their families on Monday.

Three of them were from East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) and one was from South Sulawesi.

"They have all been sent back (to their families) today," the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Wiranto, informed here on Monday.

They were repatriated after they underwent various procedures, including health checks, issuance of visas and diplomatic documents.

Three of the freed hostages who were from East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) were Lorens Lagadoni Koten (34), Theodore hollow Koten (42), and Emanuel Arakian Maran (46). They were all members of the crew of Tug Boat LD/114/ 5S belonging to Chia Tong Len. They were abducted in the waters of Lahad Datu, Malaysia, last July.

After they were released on the Island of Jolo, Sulu waters, on Sunday, (Sept 18) at around 01.00 local time, the three were brought to Zamboanga City, Mindanao Island, to be handed over to the Embassy in Manila.

East Flores Acting District Head Emanuel Kara said these three hostages would be sent back to their home villages in Latonliwo, district of Tanjung Bunga, East Flores.

"The three hostages had arrived in Jakarta. They are scheduled to be flown to Kupang on Monday night," he told Antara through a mobile phone, on Monday.

He added that he himself was back in Larantuka, East Flores District, but two local officials were still in Jakarta to assist the victims in returning home.

According to him, on Tuesday (Sept 27) morning, the three hostages will first report themselves and then continue their trip in the afternoon to Larantuka, using a pioneer flight.

The local government and citizens of East Flores thanked the central government for making efforts to secure the release of the hostages, without causing any casualties.

Regarding the other Indonesian citizen named Herman Manggak, who hails from Bulukumba, South Sulawesi, Wibanarto Eugenius of the Indonesian Embassy in Manila confirmed that he too has been repatriated.

"They (the four citizens) left the Philippines on Saturday (Sept 24) and the process was being handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," he disclosed.

Herman Manggak is a fisherman from Bulukumba, South Sulawesi, and worked aboard a Malaysian-flagged fishing vessel. He was abducted by the Abu Sayyaf group in the waters of Sabah, Malaysia, on August 3, 2016.(*)