Indonesian Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu has proposed military escort for ships sailing on dangerous routes to the Philippines, where dozens of sailors have been kidnapped by Islamic militants in recent months, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.
According to the minister, ships setting sail from Indonesia should travel in groups on a scheduled route and they should be escorted by Indonesian naval ships.
On reaching the Philippines’ territorial waters, Filipino navy force should undertake the escort until the ships reaching the port safely, he said.
From the beginning of this year, 24 Indonesian sailors and a number of Malaysian seamen have been kidnapped when travelling on the main sea route between Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
The latest kidnapping occurred last weekend when three Indonesian sailors were kidnapped by gunmen in Malaysian sea and brought to the southern Philippines.
The extreme Islamic militant group Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, notoriously known for kidnappings for ransom, has been accused of being the culprit for the kidnappings.
Established since the early 1990s, Abu Sayyaf now gathers around 400 extreme Islamic gunmen, VNA reported.
They mainly operate in southern Philippines, carrying out many kidnappings, bomb attacks and executions of hostages, posing one of the most severe security threats in the Philippines, the news agency said.