The Indonesian government must do its utmost to help three fishermen kidnapped by gunmen in Malaysian waters July 9, says a priest from a Catholic human rights organization.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters July 11 that the kidnapped men were taken to Tawi-Tawi in the southern Philippines.
Marsudi said the fishermen come from the Catholic-majority Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara.
Divine Word Father Paulus Rahmat, the director of Vivat International for Indonesia, said the Indonesian government must use its "full power" to help the fishermen.
"The government needs to take firm steps to ensure their release," said Father Rahmat who added that abductions at sea are a growing problem.
Over the past several months, the southern Philippine-based Islamic militant group Abu Sayyaf have abducted other Indonesian nationals. In the most recent incident the militant group abducted seven Indonesian sailors in June.
Father Rahmat said the government should tackle the problem at a regional level in order to find a comprehensive solution.
"There should be a pact between the ASEAN countries to ensure that similar cases will not occur again in the future," he told ucanews.com.
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