Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines unite against Abu Sayyaf

Jakarta, May 5 (IANS) The foreign ministers and military leaders of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines met on Thursday to agree on actions against the Abu Sayyaf extremist group.

The summit was convened by Indonesia, and was held in Yogyakara, after the kidnapping of 14 fishermen in two incidents in the international waters of the Jolo, where Abu Sayyaf has bases on various Philippine islands.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, presided over the meeting which addressed the establishment of joint naval and air patrols in the maritime region, EFE news reported citing local online portal Detik news.

The Indonesian Minister for Security Affairs, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, had alerted days before that the southern part of Philippines is in danger and urged that the protection of trade in the area is a matter of the highest priority.

Abu Sayyaf freed 10 fishermen on Sunday after payment of a ransom.

The rebel group carries out frequent kidnappings for ransom with which it finances its activities, including kidnappings of several foreigners, one of whom, the Canadian John Ridsdel, was beheaded on April 25 after the deadline for the ransom payment expired.

Currently, in addition to the four Indonesian fishermen, Abu Sayyaf continues to hold hostage four Malaysians, a Dutch, a Canadian, a Norwegian and several Filipino sailors.



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