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Two Indonesian Hostages Rescued in Philippines, Another Remains at Large


DECEMBER 22, 2019

Jakarta. Two Indonesian hostages held by a militant group in the Philippines were rescued alive on Sunday morning after 90 days in captivity, following a military operation that left one soldier dead, the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

Three Indonesian fishermen were kidnapped from their fishing boat off Lahat Batu, Sabah, Malaysia, by a group of gunmen with suspected links to militant group Abu Sayyaf in September.


In a Facebook video posted on Nov. 16, the kidnappers have used one of the hostages to deliver their demand for a ransom of Rp 8.2 billion ($587,000). The Indonesian government has promptly refused to pay.

The government has worked through diplomatic channels to release its citizens from the ministerial level to high-level conversation between President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte.

The State Intelligence Agency (BIN) has supported the Philippine Military to carry out the rescue operation. On Sunday morning, the location of the hostages was detected and gun battle erupted during the operation. The location of the operation was not disclosed.

“In the operation, two Indonesians identified as S.M. and M.L. were successfully released, while the rescue team continues the efforts to release another hostage M.F.,” the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

The rescued hostages must undergo medical checkup in the Philippines before they are handed to the Indonesian government. Samiun Maneu (27) and Maharudin Lunani (48) have been released from abduction while the latter’s son identified as Muhammad Farhan (27) remained a hostage.

The Indonesia government conveys its appreciation to the Philippine government for the rescue operation and maintains hope that the third hostage will be rescued safely, the ministry said while extending condolence to the death of a Philippine soldier in the operation.