Two In­done­sian fishermen ab­ducted near Malaysia

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

KUALA LUMPUR: Two In­done­sian fishermen have been ab­ducted in wa­ters off Malaysia that are plagued by kid­nap­pings by Philip­pine-based Islamic mil­i­tants, a se­cu­rity of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day.

The Malaysian head of se­cu­rity in the area, Wan Ab­dul Bari Wan Ab­dul Khalid, was quoted by Ber­nama news agency as say­ing the pair were seized Satur­day night. The peren­ni­ally poor se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in the area has prompted the Philip­pines, Malaysia and In­done­sia to co­op­er­ate more closely on bring­ing the ban­ditry to heel.

Malaysian Prime Min­is­ter Na­jib Razak said ear­lier this month af­ter talks with Pres­i­dent Rodrigo Duterte that the Philip­pines had agreed to al­low Malaysian and In­done­sian mar­itime forces to pur­sue the Is­lamist kid­nap­pers into its wa­ters.

The three coun­tries agreed ear­lier this year to in­crease co­op­er­a­tion, in­clud­ing pos­si­ble joint sea pa­trols.

The wa­ters be­tween Malaysia’s east­ern state of Sabah on Bor­neo is­land and the south­ern Philip­pines have for years seen re­peated kid­nap­pings by the Abu Sayyaf mil­i­tant group.

While the Abu Sayyaf’s lead­ers have in re­cent years pledged al­le­giance to the Islamic State group, an­a­lysts say it is mainly fo­cused on run­ning a kid­nap­ping busi­ness rather than re­li­gious ide­ol­ogy.

On Novem­ber 11 gun­men ab­ducted five crew­men of a Viet­namese cargo ves­sel in south­ern Philip­pine wa­ters.

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