TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesian citizen Hariadin, held hostage by a southern Philippines armed group, died in the waters of Simisa Island, Sulu Province, the Philippines on Friday.
According to the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry's press release, Saturday, Hariadin died of drowning in the sea after being freed as hostage.
Hariadin and another Indonesian citizen, Heri Ardiansyah, made attempts to swim to Bangalao Island to avert attacks by the Philippine army against hostage taking, as was observed by the Malaysians freed a day earlier.
Ardiansyah was saved, though Hariadin was not that lucky.
The Indonesian government expressed deep condolences to the family of the deceased Hariadin. The Foreign Affairs Ministry has communicated with the families of both Indonesian citizens in Wakatobi, Southeast Sulawesi, and in Sandakan, Malaysia, to furnish information on the incident.
Ardiansyah and Hariadin's body arrived at the Westmincom military base in Zamboanga City, the Philippines, on Saturday, for hand over to the Indonesian government's representatives. Moreover, the Indonesian government will implement the process of returning both Indonesian citizens to the country at the earliest.
Since the end of February 2019, the 11th Division of the Philippine Armed Forces, backed by the TNI BAIS Team, had conducted hostage-release operations and maintained pressure on the hostage takers. According to recent news, the hostages were forcibly taken to Simisa Island, Sulu Province, Southern Philippines.
Ardiansyah and Hariadin were kidnapped along with a Malaysian WN, Jari Abdullah, in the waters of Kinabatangan, Sandakan, Malaysia, on December 5, 2018. Armed groups in South Philippines kidnapped the trio while working on Malaysian flagged fishing vessel SN259/4/AF.
Since 2016, a total of 36 Indonesians were held hostage by the southern Philippines armed groups. Of this figure, all were successfully freed, but one Indonesian hostage died during the process of release.