Indonesia urges sailors to avoid waters off Malaysia's Sabah, calls for beefed-up patrols

Source: Xinhua| 2020-01-21 20:46:07|Editor: ZX
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JAKARTA, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Indonesian House Speaker Puan Maharani on Tuesday called on the country's sailors working for Malaysian fishing ships to avoid the waters off Sabah in Malaysia following kidnapping of Indonesians there.

"The kidnapping occurred in the vast sea water which is dangerous," said Maharani at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

"Certainly the House of Representatives hopes this will end and we will carry out diplomatic efforts to release the Indonesian nationals," she said.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry also urged the country's migrant workers planning to enter neighboring Malaysia to keep away boats with routes passing the shipping lane in the dangerous waters.

Meanwhile, Sukamta who is a member of the Parliament's Commission One dealing with defense, foreign affairs and intelligence, pointed out that a joint patrol deal agreed by Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines years ago might not be fully implemented in the waters.

"Our effort is how to make all the parties who have been committed to joining the patrol consistently execute it," he said.

The advisories came following the abduction of five Indonesian fishermen working on a Malaysian ship by Abu Sayyaf group in the waters off Sabah last week, days after the release of three other Indonesian sailors who were also held hostage in the waters by the group last September.

Since 2016, a total of 41 Indonesian nationals have been taken hostage by Abu Sayyaf group, and most of them were released, according to the Indonesian Foreign Ministry.

The militaries of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines have inked a deal on joint patrols in border waters shared by the three nations.

The Abu Sayyaf group has frequently engaged in kidnapping, bombing and beheading in western Mindanao of the Philippines.