The Indonesian Embassy in Manila has confirmed that an Indonesian vessel has been hijacked in the Philippines and its crew is being held hostage.
“The latest news said it’s true that an Indonesian-flagged vessel has been hijacked and its crewmen have been kidnapped,” embassy spokesperson Basriana said via text message on Monday.
However, Basriana could not confirm whether the hijacking of the Indonesian vessel involved Abu Sayyaf militants, a group of Islamic extremists that has become notorious for a series of deadly attacks over recent decades, tempo.co reported.
The embassy was still coordinating with the Indonesian Consulate General in Davao and other relevant authorities in the Philippines to gain deeper insights into the situation, Basriana said.
News circulating in the media said the southern Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf group had taken over the Indonesian-flagged vessel and taken 10 Indonesian crewmen hostage.
Previously, an Indonesian sailor from North Sulawesi, Papae Cleon Clevy, wrote about the incident on his Facebook account, leading to the statement circulating among Indonesian seamen.
“It’s confirmed that one tugboat named Brahma 12 is under arrest by Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, the vessel is from Banjarmasin with coal cargo,” Papae wrote.
In a previous post, Papae uploaded a screenshot of the Facebook page of Peter Tonsen Barahama, the captain of the Brahma 12.
A circulating port clearance document stated that the tugboat departed for the Philippines from Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, on March 15, carrying coal and 16 crewmen. The ship was reportedly hijacked on Saturday.
Separately, Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said the ministry was still digging for more information about the incident.
“We’re still trying to find out the information,” Arrmanatha said, adding that he had heard the news from journalists.
The National Counterterrorism Agency’s (BNPT) deradicalization director Irfan Idfris said the agency had sought information from the police.
The latest information claimed the crewmen were being held on land and the captors were demanding a ransom of 50 million pesos.
Source: The Jakarta Post