SIX Indonesian sailors previously kidnapped and freed by Abu Sayyaf bandits in the South will be repatriated soon, without having to pay fees that are normally imposed on foreigners departing the country.
This was announced yesterday by Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, who said that he already signed last week the order allowing the said aliens to leave the country without paying any immigration fees or fines or securing clearances, citing humanitarian reasons and in consideration of the ordeal they went through.
The order came on the request of the Indonesian embassy for immigration requirements be waived in the case of the freed hostages so they could be immediately repatriated.
Now in the custody of the Indonesian Embassy, the six alien sailors were kidnapped last June 20 by Abu Sayyaf bandits while aboard their ship in the Sulu Sea near Sabah, Malaysia. They were identified as Lorens Koten, Arakian Emanuel, Theodorus Kopong, Herman Bin Manggak, Mohammad Sofyan Ismail.
Sofyan and Ismail were rescued by local authorities after escaping from their captors last August 17 while Koten, Arakian, Kopong and Manggak were released in Sulu last Sept. 17 after more than two months in captivity.
Reportedly, nine Indonesian nationals, along with scores of foreign nationals, are still being held by the Abu Sayyaf in Mindanao and that to-date, a total of 25 Indonesian sailors were abducted by the group this year and 16 of them have already been released.