Indonesia has said it will help repatriate its nationals who were kidnapped in Malaysia if they feel the need to leave.

Since 2003, 36 Indonesian nationals have been kidnapped, the latest case being on December 5 when three Indonesian fishermen were abducted by the Abu Sayyaf group off the coast of eastern Sabah.

Krishna Djelani, the consul general for Indonesia in Malaysia, said his country would deploy personnel if the safety of Indonesian nationals was not guaranteed by the Sabah government, The Star reported.

He added that a number of Indonesians working in Sabah had voiced their fears to the Indonesian consulate. Djelani told a press that the unpredictable nature of Sabah’s east coast poses a threat to Indonesian nationals and that their government would bring them home if they wanted to return.

The Indonesian consulate is now gathering intelligence on nationals who wish to leave Sabah. At present, more than 30 fishermen from Tawau and Sandakan have said they wanted to return home.

About 1,700 of 300,000 registered Indonesian workers in Sabah are fishermen. The consul general also asked people to help the relatives of kidnap victims, saying they should “at least help feed the victims’ families back home.”