Three Indonesian hostages freed by Abu Sayyaf reunite with families

The authorities said those three men were a part of a group of sailors, who were abducted in June by the bandits.

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Three Indonesian hostages who were freed by the notorious Abu Sayyaf militants were reunited with their families on 7 October.

The hostages, identified as Ferry Arifin from Samarinda, East Kalimantan, Edi Suryono and Muhammad Mahbrur Dahri from South Sulawesi, were kidnapped, along with the tugboat Charles crew, in June by the bandits.

According to the Jakarta Post, the Foreign Ministry handed them over in a ceremony held in Jakarta on Friday. The ceremony was also witnessed by representatives of PT. Rusianto Bersaudara, the owner of the tugboat.

The news agency reported that Retno Marsudi, Minister of Foreign Affairs said, "This is a result of collaboration between all government elements. Even though [we worked] quietly, the government worked continuously to secure the release of the sailors."

Although the authorities did not disclose the terms of the release it is known that the notorious Abu Sayyaf group doesn't release hostages without a payment of a hefty ransom.

However, two more Indonesian hostages, along with a Dutch hostage and five Malaysians, still remain in captivity. According to the Indonesian news agency, the minister said the government is doing every bit to secure the release of the two sailors.

On 2 October, Jesus Dureza, the government peace negotiator, said the militants handed the three men over to a major rebel group which then released them to the authorities.

"The turnover was smooth and now the three will get a medical check-up and a debriefing before being turned over to an Indonesian representative," Dureza told AFP.

In mid-September, the Abu Sayyaf militants freed a Norwegian hostage kidnapped in 2015 and three other Indonesian seamen. The hostages were handed over to Misuari who then passed them on to the government.

However, the group beheaded two Canadians whom they had kidnapped from a beach resort after a ransom deadline passed.

The Indonesian government warned companies of Abu Sayyaf and urged them to navigate through safe shipping corridors that had been agreed to under the Trilateral Agreement between Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

The Abu Sayyaf group, linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is known for kidnapping people and demanding millions of dollars in ransom for their return.