MNLF continues peaceful efforts to free Sayyaf captives

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - First Page - (With a report from Ely Dumaboc)

SULU – Former rebel group Moro National Liberation continues to exert efforts in seeking the release of Abu Sayyaf hostages in the southern Filipino province of Sulu following the safe recovery of 4 Indonesian sailors in the town of Indanan.

Abu Sayyaf jihadists last week freed four Indonesian tugboat crewmen after a series of negotiations by the MNLF chieftain Nur Misuari who persuaded the kidnappers to release the sailors without ransoms, according to provincial governor Totoh Tan, who received the Indonesians in his home in Jolo town.

Misuari’s wife, Tarhata, and former Indonesian army general Kivlan Zein accompanied the sailors – Mochammad Ariyanto Mijnan, Lorens Peter, Dede Irfan Hilmi and Samsir and handed them over to Tan.

Zein sought Misuari’s help – for the second time - in the safe release of the hostages who were freed in Indanan town. Zein also briefed Tan on the role of Misuari in persuading the Abu Sayyaf to release the sailors, who were all tugboat crew members kidnapped last month at sea off TawiTawi province near the Sabah border, and brought them to Sulu province.

“It was MNLF Islamic persuasion and joint efforts of the military and police, and the local and provincial government. No ransom was paid for the freedom of the Indonesians,” Tan, chairman of the local crisis management committee, told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

No one from among the hostages spoke, but they all thanked Tan and shook hands with him. Sulu Vice Governor Sakur Tan was also present during the meeting.

Zein also praised Misuari and Tan and the Philippine government in their role in securing the freedom of the Indonesians. “We thanked Brother Nur, the MNLF, Governor Tan and the Philippine government and all those who helped in securing the safe release of the hostages,” he said.

Tan said the Indonesians were brought to a military hospital in Jolo town for a routine medical examination before being handed over to Indonesian government officials.

Just last month, Misuari also sought the release of 10 Indonesian tugboat crew members kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf in Tawi-Tawi province after Zein appealed to the MNLF to help Jakarta in freeing the hostages. The seamen were brought by the MNLF at the residence of Tan who handed the, over to the authorities.

The Abu Sayyaf – which pledged allegiance with the Islamic State militant group - is still holding four Malaysian sailors, a Canadian man, a Norwegian resort manager, a Dutch photographer and a Japanese treasure hunter in southern Philippines.

(Mindanao Examiner Photo)

A former Indonesian army general Kivlan Zein and Tarhata Misuari with freed Indonesian sailors – Mochammad Ariyanto Mijnan, Lorens Peter, Dede Irfan Hilmi and Samsir - at the house of Sulu Gov. Totoh Tan.

(Mindanao Examiner Photos)

A former Indonesian army general Kivlan Zein and Tarhata Misuari with freed Indonesian sailors – Mochammad Ariyanto Mijnan, Lorens Peter, Dede Irfan Hilmi and Samsir - at the house of Sulu Gov. Totoh Tan.

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