10 citizens held hostage in Philippines fine: Indonesian military chief

Mataram (ANTARA News) - The 10 Indonesians held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines are still in that country and fine, Indonesias defense forces (TNI) commander General Gatot Nurmantyo stated here.

"According to information from the Philippine government until now the 10 Indonesian citizens are still fine," he said after conducting a rice harvest the village of Puyung in the district of Lombok Tengah, West Nusa Tenggara, Saturday (April 2).

TNI has been prepared in case the Philippines asked for help to deal with the crisis, he reiterated and added that it would all depend upon the decision of the Philippines.

The Philippines government has promised to the Indonesian government that it will do anything to get the hostages released, he said.

"We must appreciate the Philippines government for that and we must believe in it," he added.

TNI has so far been able to only monitor and await coordination with the Philippines regarding efforts to be taken to release the hostages, he said.

TNI could not enter the Philippines without a permit as the location where the hostages are held is within the territory of that country, he said.

TNI would only move in if there is a permit from the Philippines like when it entered Thailand to carry out the Woyla operation to release hostages, he said.

"We must believe in the Philippines, because when a hostage taking happens in our country we will also not allow any party to enter the country without coordination. Therefore, as neighbors we must respect and trust each other," he said.

If TNI were later asked to take efforts to release the hostages, they would prepare everything needed by the Philippines government, the general said.

"So, right now, TNI only waits and monitors. But if we are asked to help we are ready at any time," he said.

In view of that he called on the families of the hostages to be patient and pray for their health.

"Trust TNI with the matter," he said.

Source: Antara