Indonesian government said that the company that owns the hijacked tugboat Brahma 12 has agreed to pay the 50-million-peso ($1 million) ransom demanded by the Philippine rebel group Abu Sayyaf for the release of 10 Indonesian crewmembers who have been held hostage since March 26.
Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan confirmed this, saying the company and the militants, believed to be linked to Abu Sayyaf, may next communicate today.
Negotiations for the handover of the money and the captives are still ongoing, said Luhut. "They've already agreed that the 50 million pesos will be handed over at a specific location," he said, according to Indonesian newspaper Republika.
The militants abducted the 10 Indonesians from the tugboat Brahma 12 and barge Anand 12 at sea on March 29, and demanded US$1 million (S$1.34 million) for their release.
The pirates abandoned the tugboat but held the barge. The vessels were on their way to Batangas
in southern Philippines and were carrying more than 7,500 tonnes of coal.
Abu Sayyaf is a Philippines-based Islamist extremist group notorious for bombings and kidnappings, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.
Many Western and other embassies routinely issue warnings against travelling to most of the Philippines' Muslim-populated southern regions, which lie just northeast of Sabah, because of the risk of being abducted by the group.