govt action urged to free ri hostages in somalia
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Arab Today, arab today
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
Arab Today, arab today

Govt action urged to free RI hostages in Somalia

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Govt action urged to free RI hostages in Somalia

As the conditions of 20 Indonesian sailors captured by Somali pirates since March 16
Jakarta - Arab Today

As the conditions of 20 Indonesian sailors captured by Somali pirates since March 16 are reported to be worsening, the government is being increasingly urged by members of the public to do whatever it takes to free the hostages. 

Recently, Captain Juari`s daughter Rezky Judiana Detika Syaranie sent emails to several media asking President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to make efforts to rescue her father.

"The last time my father contacted me, he said he and his crew were being detained inside the ship and that their supply of food and clean water was getting low ," she said. 

Earlier, MV Sinar Kudus`s Captain Slamet Juari told news portal tempointeraktif.com that the health of 12 of his crew was worsening with one in critical condition and the others suffering from diarrhea.

Meanwhile, the families of the poor sailors were planning to meet directly with President Yudhoyono to ask for his help to rescue their loved ones.

Yunita (35), wife of one of the ship crew members, Masbukin (37), expressed concern over the condition of her husband who was under the power of Somali pirates. She said her husband had contacted her last April 7 saying that he and the crew were running out of food.

Yunita said she was planning to gather the families of all the poor sailors to try to meet with President Yudhoyono and urge him to make immediate efforts to release the hostages.

After hijacking the MV Sinar Kudus off the coast of East Africa on its voyage to Holland, the Somali pirates demanded a US$2.6 million ransom for the release of the ship and crew, but then they raised ther ransom demand to US$3.5 million and then again to US$9 million. The shipment itself is valued at US$1.4 trillion.

The "MV "Sinar Kudus" is not the first Indonesian-flagged ship the Somali pirates have hijacked.

In February 2010, the CakaaraNews (Somali website) reported that the Somali pirates "received the largest ransom of $7.5 million for releasing an Indonesian ship carrying chemicals and its 28 crew".

Any means necessary

Senior legislator Theo L Sambuaga had called on the Indonesian government to make all possible efforts, including paying demanded ransom, to free 20 crew members of the hijacked MV Sinar Kudus.

"The crew members are Indonesian citizens. Until this time, their fate remains uncertain after their vessel had been hijacked by Somali pirates last March," Theo said.

He also said the MV Sinar Kudus was carrying an Indonesian comsignmnet of nickel so that its crew members could be said to be on a trade mission.

Theo Sambuaga said the Indonesian foreign ministry needs to take immediate action to rescue the crew members.

Asked about the 3.5 million US dollar-ransom the pirates had demanded for freeing the crew members and the ship, he said the pirates` demand needs be met to enable them to be freed.

What was more important than the ransom was "rescuing the 20 Indonesian citizens before they die of sickness or murder," he said.

If the ransom was paid, Theo Sambuaga said, the crew members and vessel with a cargo of nickel worth more than Rp1.5 trillion could be rescued.

However, if the pirates were regarded as "terrorists", the Indonesian government needs to free its captured citizens through a military operation regardless of the high cost.

"The Somali pirates are notorious and motivated by economic need. If so, the government and PT Samudera Indonesia (the pirated ship`s owner) should not be reluctant to allocate a budget for releasing our fellow citizens," he said.

In crushing the piracy in the Arabian sea, the Indonesian government could let the Somali and international authorities to do that, he said.

What was more important for Indonesia was freeing its citizens who got problem when being on duty, he added.

Meanwhile, former chairman of Indonesia`s largest muslim community Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Hasyim Muzadi urged the government to send national military personnel to release the poor sailors from Somali pirates.

"The government must act firmly. Send our military forces to release our sailors. If the situation is not being handled immediately, the negotiation process will take longer time with the pirate asking for more ransom money," he said.

Hasyim said Somali`s Ambassador to Indonesia Muhammad Alu, during meeting with him recently, had also suggested Indonesian government to use military forces to release the sailors of MV Kudus ship.

Still according to the ambassador, Hasyim said, the Somali pirate was an international-linked criminal and the waters where they operate was not under the control of Somali government.

"Ambassador Alu also said ships from foreign countries which surpass Somali waters are all guarded by their warship except Indonesia," he said.

The MV Sinar Kudus is not the first Indonesian-flagged ship that the Somali pirates have hijacked.

In February 2010, the CakaaraNews (Somali website) reported that the Somali pirates "received the largest ransom of $7.5 million for releasing an Indonesian ship carrying chemicals and its 28 crew".

Government`s effort

Presidential spokesman for international affairs Tengku Faizasyah recently stated President Yudhoyono had received report regarding the situation of the 20 sailors.

"The president has instructed related ministries to make every efforts to save our sailor. However, it must be noted that solving this kind of case will take uncertain time," he said. 

Meanwhile, spokesman to Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry Michael Tene as quoted from The Jakarta Post daily stated the government was doing its best to ensure the safety of 20 Indonesians held hostage by Somali pirate since last March.

"The government continues to pay attention whether (to the situation) in Tunisia, Libya, Japan or anywhere else. We consistently care for our citizens," he said adding that the government`s silent did not mean it done nothing.

"Steps to ensure their safety and how they can be freed are being taken," he said

Source: ANTARA

 

 

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