Indonesia Mulls Joint Patrol With Malaysia, Philippines

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian government has mulled cooperation with Malaysia and Philippine to establish security in the three countries’ waters after 14 Indonesian crews were held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf militant group in southern Philippines.

    Following an act of holding 10 Indonesian crews as hostages in late March, two Indonesian ships on Friday, April 15, 2016 were hijacked and four Indonesian crews were held as hostages. Five others escaped from the situation and another one was shot.

    “To prevent another incident, we need to conduct a joint patrol between Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippine to protect our ships,” Vice President Jusuf “JK” Kalla said at Halim Perdanakusuma airport in Jakarta on Sunday, April 17, 2016.

    Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had asked him to mull cooperation with Malaysia and Philippine to secure the water territory.

    “The territory is a trading route for the three countries. We’ll discuss whether we will conduct a joint patrol,” Luhut said on Sunday, April 17, 2016.

    Luhut expressed his concerns that the trading route could be like that in Somalia, where pirates hijack ships for economic reasons. Luhut explained the government was still identifying the hijackers, since they were not sure whether the hijacking was perpetrated by Abu Sayyaf militant group.

    “We’re not sure yet whether the hijacking was launched by Abu Sayyaf group or its affiliations,” Luhut added.

    Luhut explained that the government saw economic motives instead of political one in the incident.

    Earlier on Friday, April 15, 2016, TB Henry tugboat and Cristi barge were hijacked in waters bordering Malaysia-Philippine on their way to Tarakan from Cebu, Philippine. The two boats carried ten Indonesian crews. One of them was shot and saved by Malaysian Water Police. Five other survivors and the two boats were sent to Lahat Datu Port, Malaysia.