The Indonesian government was still trying to verify information from a migrant worker who alleged on Tuesday that two Indonesian workers died in Hama, Syria.
“To verify whether it is true, the Indonesian embassy in Damascus has and is still checking at the hospitals,” Tatang Razak, director of Indonesian citizen protection affairs at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, told the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday.
“Up until now, we have not been able to confirm whether or not the news is true. The Foreign Affairs Ministry and our representatives are still gathering detailed information from related sources and we’re still trying to confirm the information, so we can handle it properly if it really happened.”
A migrant worker, Sri Dewi, told tempo.co on Tuesday that two of her friends, Ani from Cianjur and Aminah from Sukabumi, both in West Java, died in the conflict in Syria.
Sri said that Ani and her employer died when a bomb exploded in Ani’s employer’s house in Hamas. Aminah was shot to death when she was cleaning her employer’s house also located in Hama.
Sri admitted that she did not witness both incidents, but only saw them on television.
“I know Ani died from television,” she told tempo.co. “The bomb exploded at 3 a.m. on Friday.”
Sri said that after she saw the news, she tried to contact both of them but they could not be reached.
Tatang said the ministry had previously received similar information which later proved to be false.
“The Indonesian Embassy has contacted Sri Dewi who is the [information] source of Migrant Care in Damascus,” he said. “Sri said that she got the information from [another migrant worker] Anik who worked in Nabek. Anik said that she got the news from a migrant worker. This worker got the information from her parents. From those explanations, we doubt whether the information is true.”
Tatang said he would keep on trying to find out the truth in order to provide maximum protection for Indonesian workers.
There are currently 108 Indonesian migrant workers at temporary shelters provided by the Indonesian Embassy in Damascus.
The data from the National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI) showed there were 11,760 Indonesian migrant workers in Syria, of which 11,559 were working as maids.
BNP2TKI deputy chief of migrant protection Lisna Yoeliani claimed that up until the end of May, the government had helped 193 workers return to Indonesia. Data from the Foreign Affairs Ministry showed that 234 people had returned to Indonesia including students.