Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines launch join maritime patrol

Frederick Owens
June 19, 2017

Indonesia's military chief, Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo, said the Maritime Command Centers was also opened in cities in Malaysia and the Philippines.

The conflict in Marawi has raised fears that the Islamic State's violent ideology is gaining a foothold in the Philippines' restive south.

Helicopters and surveillance planes flew overhead as ministers and army chiefs from the countries attended ceremonies to launch the patrols and as regional security takes on added urgency after Islamist militants overran a town in the southern Philippines.

The port town of Tarakan is just across the border from Sabah, one of the two Malaysian states in Borneo.

Marawi City crisis started May 23. "The rest, based on information we are getting, are blending in with refugees to get out", said Indonesian military chief Gatot Nurmantyo.

Illustrating the insecurity in the area, Eman, a 31-year-old fisherman from a village near Tarakan, said he was robbed three times last year by pirates in speed boats.

More news: British PM eyes deal to prop up minority government

On Monday, defense ministers from Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia launched a Trilateral Maritime Patrol, a joint patrol created to drive back any insurgencies in the region.

"The militants might flee the Philippines and be forced to cross the border into Indonesia", Tarakan Air Force base chief Colonel Didik Krisyanto told the state news agency Antara on Sunday (18 June).

The three neighbors agreed in May 2016 to conduct the joint patrols and share intelligence, after a series of kidnaps of foreigners by the Abu Sayyaf, an Islamist group based mainly in the southernmost Philippine islands who beheaded several victims after ransoms were not paid. It also looks out across to Mindanao in the southern Philippines, which has been infamous for piracy and kidnapping.

Indonesia's naval forces are also on guard for possible infiltration by fleeing terrorists.

Hot pursuits into the waters of the three nations will also be streamlined via the Maritime Command Centres (MCC), which was launched on Monday.

A police mobile brigade corp had also been sent to northern areas on Sulawesi island to prevent militants from crossing the border, it said.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

Discuss This Article