In­done­sia, Malaysia, PH launch joint air pa­trols

Sun.Star Pampanga - - NATION! -

KUALA

LUMPUR, Malaysia -- In­done­sia, Malaysia and the Philip­pines be­gan co­or­di­nated air pa­trols Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 12, to in­ten­sify their fight against Is­lamic ex­trem­ists who have laid siege to Marawi City in south­ern Philip­pines.

The start of the air pa­trols comes four months af­ter the three coun­tries launched joint mar­itime pa­trols to pre­vent Is­lamic State (IS) group-aligned rebels in the south­ern Philip­pines from flee­ing to neigh­bor­ing na­tions.

The siege in Marawi City has raised fears that the IS group's vi­o­lent ide­ol­ogy is gain­ing a foothold in the coun­try's restive south, where Mus­lim sep­a­ratists have fought for greater au­ton­omy for decades.

Malaysian De­fense Min­is­ter Hisham­mud­din Hus­sein said Thurs­day the con­flict shows that ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions af­fil­i­ated with the IS group have ex­ploited the re­gion's por­ous bor­ders and linked up with lo­cal ter­ror­ist groups.

He said the air and mar­itime pa­trols are aimed at "de­ter­ring the use of these back chan­nels and counter the move­ment of vi­o­lent ex­trem­ists and ter­ror­ists across the bor­ders of our three na­tions." It is es­pe­cially im­por­tant to se­cure the sea lanes be­cause about $40 bil­lion worth of trade tran­sits through the Sulu Seas each year, he said.

Hisham­mud­din said the three coun­tries will take turns each month pa­trolling the seas with air­crews from all three coun­tries on board.

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