THE Indonesian Embassy has reportedly established contact with the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) that is holding hostage 10 Indonesian sailors deep in the jungles of Sulu province in southern Mindanao, an intelligence officer disclosed on Wednesday.
”The Indonesians are negotiating the safe release of their countrymen abducted by the ASG while their tug boat was sailing near the waters of Languyan town in Tawi-Tawi,” the intelligence source based in police general headquarters Camp Crame in Quezon City said on condition of anonymity.
Tawi-Tawi is another southern province near Sulu.
The 10 Indonesians all the crew of Taiwanese tug boat Brahman 12 late last month while it was sailing off the waters of Barangay Tubig Dakula in Languyan.
The intelligence source said the captives are in the custody of the ASG’s Tanum Group of Muammar Askali somewhere in Patikul town in Sulu.
The ASG had demanded ransom from the owner of the Taiwanese tug boat for the safe release of the Indonesian crew.
An intelligence report seen by The Manila Times earlier identified the crew as Peter Tonson, Julian Philip, Alvian Elvis Peti, Mahmud, Surian Syah, Surianto, Wawan Saputra, Bakyu Oktavianto, Reynaldi and Wendi Raknadian.
The intelligence source said the Tanum Group was believed to be also behind the abduction of two Canadians, a Norwegian and a Filipino woman from a resort on Samal Island in Davao Oriental on September 21 lst year.
The ASG is demanding at least P3 billion for safe release of the Samal hostages and has given an April 16 deadline for meeting its ransom demand.
The Tanum Group is also tagged as behind the kidnapping of two German yachtmen off the coast of Bataraza town in southern Palawan in April 2014.
The two German, Stefan Viktor Okonek and Henrite Dielen, were freed by the ASG in October 2014 after receiving P250 million in ransom.