Starting January 2017, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines will unite in the fight against rebel group Abu Sayaff and protect the Sulu Sea as they begin conducting joint military trainings.
The countries will begin training on their own in the first month of 2017 before holding joint trainings at the later part of the year, according to Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu.
Indonesia's military trainings will be held in Tarakan in North Kalimantan, Indonesia, while Malaysia will conduct theirs at Tawao Island and Bongao Island for the Philippines.
The Indonesian Defense Minister said the soldiers joining the training will be part of the special task force to be formed against the militant group Abu Sayaff. The rebel group responsible for a series of abductions happening in the waters of Sulu, situated in the southwestern part of Philippines.
"It’s part of a concrete action we, Asean countries, are taking to secure the region," Ryacudu said.
He further revealed that the training grounds will become the posts for the expected joint taskforce that would secure the Sulu waters.
It was on the sidelines of Asean Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) retreat held in Laos, that the need for the joint trainings had been addressed during the meeting of Ryacudu and his counterparts Hishammuddin Hussein of Malaysia and Delfin Lorenzana of the Philippines.
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