THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) approved the repatriation of seven abducted Indonesian sailors who were released by Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sulu recently, after Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente signed the request of the Indonesian Embassy. Morente waived the immigration fees and securing clearances normally required by the bureau of departing foreigners so the sailors could immediately return to their homeland. The former captives in the custody of the Indonesian embassy were identified as Lorens Koten, Arakian Emanuel, Theodorus Kopong, Herman Bin Manggak, Mohammad Sofyan, Ismail. The sailors were abducted last June 20 by the bandits aboard their ship in the Sulu Sea near Sabah, Malaysia. Two of them – Sofyan and Ismail – were rescued by local authorities after escaping from their captors last August 17. The four others – Koten, Arakian, Kopong, Manggak – were released in Sulu last September 17 after more than two months in captivity. A total of 25 Indonesian sailors were abducted by the group this year and 16 of them have been released.


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