Government doing utmost to free hostages: Retno

The government will continue with efforts to secure the release of 10 Indonesian sailors being held by the Abu Sayyaf militant group in the Philippines, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi says.

Retno said her office was intensifying communication with her counterpart in the Philippines “every minute, every hour, every day, continuously”.

"The situation is certainly not easy, but we emphasize will not give up and we will continue with our efforts to free our 10 Indonesian sailors. We’re doing our best, of course, and at the same time praying for their safety," Retno said in Jakarta on Thursday.

The minister said the government had received information that all 10 sailors were in good condition. "All activities are being monitored," she said.

Earlier, Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudi said the government had prepared the ransom to free the hostages, adding that launching a military operation to rescue the Indonesian sailors would be too risky.

He was reluctant to explain the source of the money. "It is definitely not state money," he said.

Two Indonesian-flagged vessels, the Brahma 12 and Anand 12, were hijacked by Abu Sayyaf militants in Philippine waters. Brahma 12 has been handed over to Philippine authorities. The militant group contacted the owner of the vessel and demanded US$1.08 million by April 8 to free the Indonesian sailors. (bbn)

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