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Indonesia: Steps to conquer Abu Sayyaf abduction agreed

Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines agree to implement emergency assistance in effort to halt snatching by Daesh-linked group

Indonesia: Steps to conquer Abu Sayyaf abduction agreed

By Ainur Rohmah

TUBAN, Indonesia

A trilateral meeting in Indonesia to tackle piracy in the neighboring waters of Sulu has resulted in six agreements to combat kidnappings by a notorious Daesh-linked group.

In the past four months, more than 20 Indonesian and Malaysian sailors have been kidnapped in the Celebes and Sulu seas, many of whom remain captive by Abu Sayyaf militants in the Philippines' troubled south.

Speaking to media, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said the defense ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines had agreed to implement "emergency assistance" which will enable each country to assist the other during disturbances that harm citizens' security.

"We hope the agreement between the defense ministers of the three countries is immediately able to be implemented in the field to avoid future abductions," quoted her as saying Wednesday.

Marsudi, who spoke to reporters after a briefing with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, said the three countries would conduct joint military patrols in the waters and hold joint exercises.

They will also intensify the exchange of intelligence information, communicate through a "free hostage" hotline and implement a system that would allow for the early detection of contingency situations.

Tuesday's trilateral meeting was the third by the ministers to tackle piracy and hostage-taking in the waters, while combating the threat of terrorism, transnational crime, and the trafficking of people and narcotics.

At least 10 Indonesians are believed to remain in Abu Sayyaf captivity in the island province of Sulu.

The Abu Sayyaf is among two militant groups in the Philippines south who have pledged allegiance to Daesh, prompting fears during the stalling of a peace process that Daesh could make inroads in a region torn by decades of armed conflict.

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