From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 30): Seven freed Indonesian sailors will soon be home after Bi waives requirements
The seven Indonesian sailors previously kidnapped and freed by Abu Sayyaf bandits in the southern part of the country, will soon be home.
This, after Bureau of Immigration (BI) Jaime Morente approved an order last week allowing the foreigners to leave the country without paying any immigration fees or fines or securing clearances.
The former captives identified as Lorens Koten, Arakian Emanuel, Theodorus Kopong, Herman Bin Manggak, Mohammad Sofyan, Ismail are now in the custody of the Indonesian embassy.
He noted that the immigration requirements, which is normally imposed or required by the bureau on departing foreigners have been waived upon requests by the Indonesian embassy so that the freed hostages could be immediately repatriated to their homeland.
"We granted the requests for humanitarian reasons and in consideration of the sad ordeal they went through while in captivity,” said the BI chief.
The bandits abducted the Indonesian sailors while aboard their ship in the Sulu Sea near Sabah, Malaysia last June 20.
Two of them – Sofyan and Ismail – were rescued by local authorities after escaping from their captors last Aug. 17 while the four others- Koten, Arakian, Kopong, Manggak - were released in Sulu last Sept. 17.
It was reported that nine Indonesian nationals along with other foreign nationals are still being held by the group in Mindanao.
A total of 25 Indonesian sailors were abducted by the rebels this year and 16 of them were released.