Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines on 5 May 2016 agreed to conduct coordinated sea patrols and establish a hotline to combat piracy and kidnappings in waters bordering the three nations.
The countries’ foreign ministers and military officials reached an agreement in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta. The meeting was prompted by the recent kidnapping of 10 Indonesian sailors in the southwestern Philippines by Abu Sayyaf. However, the sailors were released on 1 May 2016.
Three nations and maritime borders
• Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines share maritime borders along the Sulu and Celebes seas, through which 55 million tons of goods and over 18 million people pass each year.
• The waters surrounding the Sulu Archipelago, where the sailors were kidnapped, include the Sulu Sea and the northern limit of the Celebes Sea.
• Indonesia and Malaysia share a land border on Borneo Island, southwest of the Sulu Sea, and the three countries have sea borders in the region.
• As per Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry, more than 100000 ships sailed through the Sulu Sea in 2015. The ships carried about 60 million tons of cargo and more than 18 million passengers.
About Abu Sayyaf
• Abu Sayyaf is a militant group based in and around Jolo and Basilan islands in the southwestern part of the Philippines.
• The group is considered very violent, and was responsible for the Philippines' worst terrorist attack, the bombing of Superferry 14 in 2004, which killed 116 people.
• The name of the group is derived from the Arabic word, abu (father of) and sayyaf (swordsmith).
• As of 2012, the group was estimated to have between 200 and 400 members.
• The group was founded by Abdurajik Abubakar Janjalani.
• On 23 July 2014, Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Totoni Hapilon swore an oath of loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIL.
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When: Decided on 5 May 2016
Why: To curb kidnappings