- 7 Indonesians were abducted by the Abu Sayyaf Group
- The Indonesians were crew members of TB Charles tugboat owned by PT Rusianto Bersaudara
- The kidnappers are allegedly demanding P20 million for the release of the Indonesian captives
Seven crew members of an Indonesian cargo ship were abducted by suspected members of the dreaded Abu Sayyaf Group on Wednesday, June 22.
An official from the Port of Samarinda in Indonesia confirmed the abduction of the seven out of 13 crewmen of TB Charles tugboat in Philippine waters.
“We can confirm the kidnapping. We are coordinating with the police and military to follow up on the report,” International Business Times quoted Samarinda Port Authority chief Yus Kusmany as telling Agence France Presse on Thursday, June 23.
The TB Charles tugboat was reportedly returning to Indonesia from the Philippines when armed men in a speed boat fired at the vessel.
Dian Megawati Ahmad, wife of one of the abducted crewmen identified as Ismail, claimed her husband was able to call and told her that their captors are demanding P20-million ransom from PT Rusianto Bersaudara, the company that owns TB Charles tugboat, in exchange for their release.
Indonesian Vice President Jusuk Kalla, however, did not believe reports that the Abu Sayyaf abducted Indonesian citizens.
“There is no such hostage taking,” the vice president told Indonesian media.
Kalla said he has yet to receive reports from the Indonesian Embassy in Manila regarding the hostage-taking issue.
The Secretary of Indonesian Cabinet, Pramono Anung, assured the Indonesian people that the Indonesian government will check the veracity of the hostage-taking reports.
“The government was trying to verify if the information was true. We have had such experiences twice in the past and have a network in place now to deal with it,” Pramono disclosed.
“Certainly, the government wants complete information before taking any action,” he added.