President calls for joint security patrol with Malaysia, Philippines

The president`s call came a day after four Indonesian crew members were abducted on Friday evening in another incident on the maritime borders between Malaysia and the Philippines.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo has called for an effort to look into the possibility of joint patrol with Malaysia and the Philippines to secure marine trade route, a senior minister said.

"The president has just asked us to explore the possibility of joint security with Malaysia and the Philippines," Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan said after biding farewell to the president at the Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in East Jakarta on Sunday to pay a four-European nation visit.

The presidents call came a day after four Indonesian crew members were abducted on Friday evening in another incident on the maritime borders between Malaysia and the Philippines.

Luhut said the Indonesian military cannot enter the Philippine territory as the local government still has to obtain a seal of approval from the parliament under its constitution.

"The Philippine constitution does not make it possible to do so (joint military operation)," he said.

He said the company where the four Indonesian crew members are employed has sent its representative to negotiate with the armed group in the Philippines which is holding them hostage.

"Representative of the company has left for the Philippines to conduct negotiations," he said.

He believed the abduction of the 14 Indonesians is not politically motivated.

"We are identifying the groups behind the abduction. But it seems that it was economically motivated," he said.

Luhut said he still had no idea about whether the Abu Sayyaf group or its wing has abducted the Indonesians.

He said he had reported the abduction of four more Indonesians to the president.

Luhut said on Friday the government is analyzing a new hostage crisis that occurred on a maritime border between Malaysia and the Philippines Friday.

Four Indonesian crew members were abducted on Friday evening in another incident on the seas.

It is not known whether the abductors are from the Abu Sayyaf group which has been holding 10 Indonesian sailors hostage since last March.

"We are still doing an analysis. We do not know for sure who is holding them hostage. We are studying the motive of the abductors, whether it is political or purely for money such as those in Somalia," Luhut last Saturday when attending a ceremony marking the 64th anniversary of the Indonesian Armys Special Force, Kopassus.

A negotiation between the Abu Sayyaf group and the sailors companies to release the 10 hostages is still going on, he said.

The government is still awaiting the results of that negotiation, he said.(*)

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