Securing the Piracy Scourge

The release of 10 hostages taken by the Abu Sayyaf terror group should not make us compliant. Before we can crow in victory, we must not forget that four more of our fellow Indonesian citizens are still being held by the separatist groups in the southern Philippines.

The tugboat Brahma 12 was hijacked by the Abu Sayyaf group on March 25 as it was pulling a barge-load of 7,500 metric tons of coal from South Kalimantan to Batangas, south of Manila.

The intercept took place just off Tapul Island in the Sulu Sea by suspected militants of the Al-Habsi Misaya faction of the Abu Sayyaf, which broke away from the long-established Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the early 1990s.

The pirates demanded a ransom of 50 million pesos, or about Rp 15 billion, from the boat owner Patria Maritime Lines. Only days later, the same group captured a second tugboat and barge, taking hostage of another four Indonesians.

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