2 kidnapped Indonesian sailors freed by Abu Sayyaf in Philippines
Philippine military photos show freed Indonesian sailors Mohammad Nazer and Robin Peter, crew members of the tugboat Charles 00 kidnapped in June 22 this year, after the Abu Sayyaf released them to the Moro National Liberation Front in Sulu province on Monday, December 12, 2016. (Mindanao Examiner)
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Two kidnapped Indonesian sailors were freed by the Abu Sayyaf on Monday after nearly six months in captivity in southern Philippines, officials said.
Officials said Mohammad Nazer and Robin Peter, crew members of the tugboat Charles 00 kidnapped in June 22 this year, were released to the former rebel group Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Indanan town in Sulu, one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.
The boat – owned by PT Rusianto Brothers – was heading to Samarinda in East Kalimantan following a trip from the Philippines when gunmen on speedboats intercepted the vessel.
It was unknown if Jakarta paid ransoms to the Abu Sayyaf, but an army spokesman Major Filemon Tan insisted the safe release of the hostages were due to MNLF and military pressure. He said the Abu Sayyaf freed the sailors to an MNLF leader, Tahir Sali.
The Indonesian kidnapped victims Mohammad Nazer and Robin Peter were released by the Abu Sayyaf to MNLF commander Tahir Sali after being pressured by non-stop operations of the (military’s) Joint Task Force Sulu and the MNLF,” Tan said.
He said the MNLF turned over the hostages to acting Sulu Governor Nurunisah Tan, who immediately contacted the military and handed over the hostages to Colonel Jesus Mananquil, the task force commander.
The sailors were brought to Zamboanga City and underwent medical examination. The Indonesians were part of a group of 7 sailors kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf off Sabah, Malaysia and brought to Sulu. The other sailors had been freed this year after Jakarta reportedly paid huge ransoms to the Abu Sayyaf.
In August this year, two other crewmembers of the tugboat Charles 00 – Mohamad Soyfan and Ismail – allegedly escaped from the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu’s Luuk town. Indonesian media previously reported that the Abu Sayyaf demanded 20 million ringgits for the safe release of all the hostages, who were held by the group of Alhabsi Misaya, a former member of the MNLF, which signed a peace deal with Manila in September 1996.
Two months later, Abu Sayyaf rebels freed 3 Indonesian sailors Muhammad Mahbrur Dahri, Ferry Arifin and Edi Suryono, to the MNLF.
Nur Misuari, the MNLF chieftain, escorted by dozens of armed followers, personally handed over the hostages to Sulu Governor Totoh Tan – who heads the provincial crisis committee and chairman of the Sulu Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office – in his house in the capital town of Jolo.
Tan immediately turned over the Indonesians to the Philippine military after feeding them. (Mindanao Examiner)