TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Gen. Gatot Nurmanto said that he would prioritize the safety of 10 crew members of an Indonesian vessel hijacked by Philippine militant group Abu Sayyaf.
“As explained by Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, our priority is to rescue Indonesian hostages,” Gatot said at the TNI headquarter in Jakarta on Wednesday, March 30, 2016.
Gatot explained that the TNI had coordinated with the Philippine military and received information, including the location of the hostages.
“I have coordinated with the Philippine operation team, and they have retrieved the location [of the hostages],” Gatot explained.
Gatot revealed that no Indonesian military personnel had been deployed to the location to rescue the hostages, since it is outside Indonesian borders.
“The Foreign Minister has revealed that the location is in Philippine. Therefore, we can only monitor the situation,” he added.
Despite the situation, Gatot said that the TNI had been in communications with the Philippine military to provide assistances.
Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arrmanatha Nasir revealed that the owner of the hijacked vessel had been contacted by someone who claimed as a member of Abu Sayyaf group.
“The hijacker asked for a ransom,” Arrmanatha said in a press release on Tuesday, Mach 29, 2016.
Earlier, the tugboat Brahma 12 and the barge Anand 12, carrying 7,000 tons of coals and ten crew members was hijacked during their trips from Puting River, South Kalimantan to Batangas, South Philippine. The tugboat Brahma 12 has been released and is currently under the Philippine authority’s protection. Meanwhile, the barge Anand 12 and its 10 crew members are still unaccounted for.