Manila. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday (30/03) said they will secure the release of ten Indonesians currently held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf militant group in southern Philippines.
“Our constitution does not allow the involvement of other country's military forces here without a treaty,” AFP spokesperson Col. Restituto Padilla said in response to Indonesia's offer to deploy personnel to help free the hostages, as reported by Inquirer.net.
Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu previously said the Indonesian Military (TNI) and police are ready to deploy to release the ten Indonesians, who were kidnapped while traveling on a boat in Indonesian waters off North Sulawesi.
However, Ryamizard said TNI and police personnel will only be deployed once the Philippines authorities have given them the green light.
Amid increasing public pressure on the Indonesian government to release the hostages as soon as possible, Padilla said “the AFP has the capability to do its mandate.”
The Al Qaeda-linked group, based in the island of Mindanao, hijacked the Indonesian-flagged tugboat Brahma 12 and barge Anand 12 0n Saturday when they were en route to the Philippines from Banjarmasin in Indonesia's East Kalimantan province.
President Joko Widodo has instructed his chief security minister, foreign affairs minister, the national police chief and the military chief to "act strong." "We will not lose against these criminals," cabinet secretary Pramono Anung said on Tuesday.
The Abu Sayyaf militant group is notorious for kidnappings, beheadings, bombings and extortion. The group has also been a major influence on other terror groups in Southeast Asia, including those in Indonesia.
One of its leaders, Radullan Sahiron, was added to the US State Department's list of terror suspects earlier this month. There is a $1 million reward for his capture over his involvement in the kidnapping of US tourists in 2001.