Two Indonesians held hostage by Abu Sayyaf return home

Two Indonesians held hostage by Abu Sayyaf return home

Indonesia Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi (left) with Maharudin (middle), one of the ex-hostages of Abu Sayyaf Group who reunites with his wife (right) in Jakarta, Thursday, December 26, 2019. (ANTARA FOTO/Aditya Pradana Putra/Sw)

We are officially ensuring that Mr Maharudin and Mr Samiun get together with their families after 90 days where they were doubtful about their future and felt anxious of being detainees in the Philippines
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The two Indonesians who were held hostage by militant group Abu Sayyaf in southern Philippines, are returning home to their families at a handover ceremony by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jakarta, Thursday. Maharudin (48) and Samiun (27) were rescued on December 22, 2019, in a military operation undertaken by the Philippines Army, which resulted in one soldier being killed.

“We are officially ensuring that Mr Maharudin and Mr Samiun get together with their families after 90 days where they were doubtful about their future and felt anxious of being detainees in the Philippines,” Retno Marsudi, Foreign Affairs Minister, stated.

The families were also anxious for these last two months, while they waited for the hostages to return safely, Retno added.

“This release could only happen through the remarkable cooperation of Indonesia’s inter-authorities as well as between the two countries, Indonesia and the Philippines,” she noted.

Earlier, at a high-level negotiation, Indonesian President Joko Widodo emphasized the handling of the hostage crisis during a meeting with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte in Busan, South Korea.

“At that time, President Duterte conveyed his immediate commitment to solving this case with all the powers at his disposal,” Retno said.

On the occasion, Retno also held talks with the Philippines Minister of Defense about the case.

The last two negotiations led to some follow-up action by each government, including the intensive communication between the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Western Mindanao Command.

Maharudin and Samiun are Baubau residents of Buton, Southeast Sulawesi, who worked as migrant workers of a Malaysian fishing vessel’s crew, along with another worker, Muhammad Farhan —Maharudin’s son.

The three were captured at Tambisan Sea, Lahad Datu in Sabah, Malaysia, and later transferred to Sulu Sea, according to the Foreign Ministry's director for citizen protection, Judha Nugraha.

While Maharudin and Samiun were rescued, Muhammad Farhan is still being detained

“We are making maximum efforts to ensure the release of the hostage,” Retno assured.

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