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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Indon military chief upbeat about release of remaining Abu Sayyaf hostages

Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo gave a positive signal on the release of the remaining two Indonesian sailors held hostage by the notorious Abu Sayyaf militant group in the Southern Philippines.

"Let's pray, that hopefully within this week there is good news [about the hostages' release]. Who knows, maybe [they will be freed] tomorrow or the day after," Gatot told journalists on Tuesday.

Various stakeholders within both the Indonesian and Philippine governments are intensifying coordination to secure the immediate release of the two remaining sailors, Robin Peter and M. Nasir, the crew members of tugboat Charles, who were taken hostage by the militants on June 21, he said.

However, the military's role in efforts to release the hostage has only covered coordination with the Philippine Armed Force, including in exchanging intelligence. The TNI could not directly participate in the offensive measures carried out by the Philippine military against the militants as Philippine Constitution did not allow it, Gatot added.

On Saturday evening, three more Indonesian sailors of tugboat Charles namely Ferry Arifin, M. Mahbur Dahlan, and Edi Suryono were released by Abu Sayyaf. Their release followed the return of four Indonesian sailors freed from Abu Sayyaf captivity in late September. (rin)

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