Don’t pay ransom to pirates, VP tells ship owners

Vice President Jusuf Kalla has urged the employers of crewmen that have been taken hostage by suspected Abu Sayyaf militants to not negotiate or pay ransoms to secure the release of the hostages.

"I am 100 percent sure the government has never negotiated in regard to money. But it's possible the companies did. For the safety of their employees they have negotiated, but this has led to the [repeated abductions]," Kalla said on Tuesday, as quoted by Antara news agency.

Kalla said paying ransoms only encouraged kidnappings in the future, reiterating the government's claim that it never paid a ransom to release Indonesian citizens abducted by the violent militants in the southern Philippines.

Three Indonesian sailors were kidnapped on Saturday in Sabah waters in Malaysia and subsequently taken toward Tawi in the Philippines.

Previously, seven men were also abducted and are believed to be held hostage in the Sulu province, Philippines, bringing the number to a total of 10 Indonesians who are now highly suspected of being held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf group. The notorious militants are known to dominate the area.

Source: The Jakarta Post