Jakarta: 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 Foreign Affairs Ministry in Jakarta on Thursday, December 26, 2019.
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,” Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi stated.
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“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,” the minister noted.
Earlier, at a high-level negotiation, Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" 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,” Indonesia's top diplomat said.
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,” she assured. (Antara)