The Indonesian Military (TNI) is ready to assist the Philippine military to launch an operation against Abu Sayyaf militants who have hijacked two Indonesian vessels and kidnapped 10 Indonesian crewmen.
The Indonesian forces are all set for the hostage rescue operation, said Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu. However, Jakarta would have to first wait for Manila’s request as the incident occurred in Philippine territory.
The army has prepared vessels to conduct the operation in case the Philippine authorities allow Indonesian forces to join the operation, Ryamizard said. He also has coordinated with the Philippine defense minister to address the incident.
“It’s a foreign country. If we are not allowed to enter then we cannot force it. If Manila is ready to settle it themselves, then we’ll wait, but if they need help, then we should enter,” Ryamizard said on Tuesday as quoted by the Antara news agency.
Meanwhile, Insp. Gen. Anton Charliyan said the National Police are ready to deploy the elite Densus 88 counterterrorism squad and the Mobile Brigade to take part in the operation. The police had coordinated with Interpol in an attempt to save the crewmen.
Separately, House of Representatives member Ade Komarudin asserted his belief that the Indonesian Military, if allowed, could execute the operation successfully since the TNI had been involved in many hostage-rescue operations.
Ade used the example of the Woyla incident in March 1981, when the special forces saved Indonesians who were being held captive during the hijack of a Garuda Indonesia airplane by the Komando Jihad terrorist group.
“Operation Woyla was successful and thus I am sure and I believe that the security officials of this country can do their best,” Ade said, underlining that the government should not compromise with the terrorists.
In a statement, Abu Sayyaf has demanded 50 million pesos in ransom, equal to Rp 14.2 billion (US$1.07 million). Responding to this, Ryamizard said that Indonesia should not meet the demand.
Source and image: Inquirer