DAVAO CITY - One Indonesian hostage has been freed by the Abu Sayyaf militant group. This bringing the total number of men expected to soon return to Indonesian up to four.
An official has confirmed, fourth Indonesian hostage, named Harman Manggak, was officially handed over to the Indonesian consul general in Davao, Berlian Napitupulu, on Thursday at 5 p.m. local time at the WestMinCom headquarters in Zamboanga.
"He will be handled by the Indonesian Consulate General in Davao, specifically to undergo trauma healing, before returning together with the three previously released hostages," said Indonesian Foreign Ministry's director for the protection of Indonesian nationals and entities abroad, Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, Thursday (22/9).
Harman is a fisherman from Bulukumba, South Sulawesi, and was the captain on board a Malaysian flagged fishing boat that was attacked by the armed Filipino militants in Malaysia's Sabah waters on Aug. 3.
It is not known whether any ransom was paid for the release of the men who were believed to be held in the southern Philippines.
His release followed that of three Indonesian crewmen of another Malaysian flagged boat who were released by the militants on Sunday. Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu had hinted on Sunday that there would be another hostage released following the three crewmen, but he gave no further details.
Five Indonesian sailors remain in captivity, held by the Philippine militant group that is notorious for extracting ransom payments in return for the lives of hostages.
The remaining people, who were crewmen aboard the Indonesian-operated tugboat Charles, have been in captivity since June 21, making them the longest-held captives in the most recent string of abductions of Indonesian sailors.