PH, Malaysia, Indonesia to start joint patrols off Mindanao

June 03,2017 - 10:12 PM

SINGAPORE — Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia will launch joint patrols in waters off the Mindanao region this month to counter threats from Islamic State group militants, Malaysia’s defense minister said Saturday.

Hishammuddin Hussein made the comments at a security conference in Singapore as Philippine troops continued to battle self-styled Islamic State group gunmen who attacked the city of Marawi on Mindanao island nearly two weeks ago.

Hishammuddin said joint sea patrols in the waters bordering the three nations would kick off on June 19, with air patrols starting at a later date.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in Mindanao in response to the crisis, describing the attack on Marawi as the start of a major campaign by IS to establish a foothold in the Philippines.

Security analysts say IS is planning to establish a “province” in the southern island of Mindanao as part of its efforts to set up a caliphate in Southeast Asia.

“If you talk about Sulu Straits (it) … would involve Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines,” Hishammuddin told delegates to Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual security summit.

“So within Asean, we decided at least these three countries, to avoid being accused of doing nothing, the three of us took the initiative to have the joint patrol… initiatives in the Sulu Straits,” he added, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

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TAGS: Indonesia, joint, Malaysia, Mindanao, OFF, patrols, ph, start

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