An Indonesian man who was kidnapped in Malaysia and later held hostage in the Southern Philippines was successfully released and handed over to his family, an official stated.
35-year-old Usman Yunus was handed over by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs AM Fachir to his family, who were brought in from Polewali Mandar, West Sulawesi.
On September 11, 2018, Usman was kidnapped along with another Indonesian man, Samsul Saguni, by armed groups in waters near Pulau Gaya, Samporna, Sabah (Malaysia). Usman was held hostage for two months and 26 days.
Upon release, Usman was accompanied directly by the Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines, Sonny Sarundajang, on his way back to Indonesia.
“The government uses all of its assets to free the hostages. But the situation in the southern Philippines, due to martial law, makes efforts should be done very carefully to ensure the safety of the hostages,” AM Fachir said in a written statement on Thursday.
From 2016 to November 2018, 34 Indonesian citizens have been taken hostage in the southern Philippines. A total of 33 of them have been released.
The Indonesian government will continue to seek the release of Indonesian citizens who are still held hostage.
The Indonesian Consulate General in Kota Kinabalu and Indonesian Consulate General Tawau has also urged Indonesian citizens who work as fishermen in the Sabah region not to go to the sea until there is a guarantee of security from Malaysian authorities.
Source: Antara News
Photo: Documentation by the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs