Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on Thursday (07/09) confirmed the rescue of two Indonesian captives held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippine’s Mindanao region, and said that they will soon return to Indonesia.
“Both hostages are currently at the joint task force headquarters in Sulu, where they receiving a medical check-up,” Retno said during a press briefing in Singapore, as documented in a video by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
She added that the check-up is part of a standard procedure for rescued hostages.
The men were rescued by Philippine soldiers, after a firefight that killed five of their Islamist militant captors, according to a Reuters report.
The ministry identified the rescued Indonesians as Saparudin bin Koni and Sawal bin Maryam, both of whom were crew members of a Malaysian fishing boat.
They were captured by the Abu Sayyaf group in November in waters near Sabah, Malaysia.
“Tomorrow, the two Indonesians will be brought to the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] Western Command in Zamboanga City. The Indonesian consulate general will meet with both of them there, and we will facilitate their return to Indonesia,” Retno said.
The ASG is considered one of the most violent jihadist groups in the southern Philippines, notorious for kidnappings and attacks on civilians and the military.
The group was responsible for the Philippines’ worst terrorist attack in 2004 — a ferry bombing that reportedly killed 116 people.
According to Reuters, the Philippine Army said the group is still holding 18 captives — including citizens of Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Vietnam — on Jolo and Basilan islands.