10 Indonesian sailors arrive home after kidnap by Abu Sayyaf

Ten Indonesian sailors held hostage by the Islamic militant group Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines arrived home after being released by their captors, an official said Monday.

They landed in Jakarta at midnight on a private plane and were immediately taken to an army hospital in Jakarta for medical examinations, Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said.

The sailors were released on Sunday after being abducted on March 26 between the provinces of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi while travelling on their boat that was carrying 7,000 tons of coal from Indonesia. 

"I was so happy when I heard the news of his release I kneeled and cried," Halimatus Sya'diah, the wife of one of the released hostages, was quoted by Antara news agency.

"But I'm also sad he's now skinny and his face looks pale," she said.

The Indonesian crew was freed days after Abu Sayyaf militants beheaded a Canadian hostage held captive since September last year.

Indonesian officials have denied any ransom was paid to the abductors. The company that employs the sailors earlier announced it agreed to pay 50 million pesos (1.1 million dollars) in ransom.

"The release was purely the result of a negotiation and no money as demanded by Abu Sayyaf," National Democratic Party legislator Viktor B Laiskodat, who said his party was involved in the negotiation, was quoted as saying by Tribunnews.com.

The party, a member of the ruling coalition, is led by media mogul Surya Paloh, whose private plane was used to transport the sailors from the Philippines to Indonesia, local media reported.

Abu Sayyaf militants are believed to be holding several captives in the jungles of Jolo, including Canadian, Norwegian, Filipino and Dutch nationals, as well as four Malaysian sailors.

The militants have been blamed for some of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the Philippines, aside from high-profile kidnappings of foreigners.

Last update: Mon, 02/05/2016 - 11:07
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