JAKARTA, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines have launched a joint maritime operation and established maritime command centers (MCC) to halt militants fighting in Southern Philippine from crossing sea borders.
Defense ministers and military chiefs of the three countries on Monday met in Tarakan city of northern Borneo Island of Indonesia, agreeing to conduct the trilateral coordinated maritime patrol and the establishment of the MCCs in the three cities of the nations, Indonesian Military Commander General Gatoto Nurmantyo said in a statement.
The military commander said that the operation is expected to halt militants fighting in Marawi city in Southern Philippines from crossing the sea borders of the three nations for escape.
Sharing of intelligence information among the MCCs in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines will support the implementation of the joint naval patrol, Nurmantyo added.
"With the trilateral cooperation, it will smooth information exchanges because the speed and accuracy of information is badly needed for an early anticipation, including the possibility of the escape of those who pretend to be refugees from Marawi," he said.
On the ongoing operation against militants in Marawi city, the general congratulated the Armed force of the Philippines over its achievement in the operation that already killed 257 militants.
"This is a warning for us to be ready to face such things as sleepers cells of the terrorism have been existing in our country," he added.
The IS linked militants have launched some suicide bombings in Indonesia over the past years, including the latest strike in East of Jakarta on May 24 that killed 3 police officers and two suicide bombers.