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Duterte to Indonesia, Malaysia: Bomb kidnappers; hostages, too

/ 03:03 AM December 09, 2016
President Rodrigo Duterte reiterates his stand on the country's shift to adopt an independent foreign policy during his departure speech at NAIA Terminal 2 in Pasay City. The President is scheduled to attend a three-day state visit to Japan on October. 25. TOTO LOZANO/Presidential Photo

Presidential Photo

President Duterte said on Wednesday he told his Indonesian and Malaysian counterparts that their forces can bomb fleeing Filipino militants and their kidnap victims at sea because the hostages “are not supposed to be there.”

Mr. Duterte said in a speech that he told Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo that their forces could enter Philippine waters while pursuing Muslim militants who are fleeing with hostages.

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Mr. Duterte said he told the leaders that if the militants were about to escape, “bomb them. If they cannot be captured, you bomb them. How about the hostages? Eh, bomb them also. They’re not supposed to be there, there is a warning.”

The brash-talking Mr. Duterte cited a US travel advisory warning Americans not to travel in the treacherous waters bordering the three countries.

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The Abu Sayyaf militant group is holding more than a dozen mostly foreign hostages in their jungle lairs in Jolo.

Despite discussions among the three leaders on ways to strengthen security along their sea borders, Abu Sayyaf militants and allied gunmen from Jolo and nearby islands have continued to target and kidnap crewmen of slow-moving tugboats as well as fishing boats.

The ransom-seeking militants, who are notorious for beheadings, have also attacked cargo ships and separately snatched a South Korean skipper and Vietnamese crewmen in southern Philippines. The United States and the Philippines consider the Abu Sayyaf a terrorist organization.

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TAGS: Abu Sayyaf militant group, Filipino militants, Indonesian, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, Malaysian counterparts, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, President Duterte, Rodrigo Duterte
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