Ten Indonesian tugboat crewmen held by the Abu Sayyaf terror gang in the southern Philippines were freed unharmed Sunday.
The sailors arrived in Jakarta late on Sunday night, hours after they were released from captivity. They arrived at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport, East Jakarta, at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday using Jet Victoria News aircraft.
Indonesia paid no ransom to free the sailors taken hostage, with efforts relying on negotiations, the lead Indonesian negotiator claimed on Monday.
They were welcomed by Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and the National Armed Forces Chief General Gatot Nurmantyo. “All crew members will be taken to hospital for medical examination,” Retno said Sunday, May 1, 2016 before adding that the victims would be returned to their family after the examination.
The Indonesians said their captors hadn’t harmed them and believed that they had been released because of stepped-up pressure being applied by the Philippine military.
The militant group had demanded a ransom of $1 million from the Indonesian government
in exchange for releasing the 10 seamen held captive since March 26, setting an initial deadline of April 8.
However, the government paid no money to the terror group, according to retired army general Kivlan Zein, who led the Indonesian team of negotiators in the release efforts.
President Joko Widodo of Indonesia said during a televised address in his country on Sunday night that the sailors were in good condition and would be flown to Jakarta immediately.
He thanked the Philippine government and said that Jakarta would continue working for the release of four other Indonesian mariners
seized in a separate incident.