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Indonesia, Philippines Hold Talks on Security Cooperation

2018-01-12

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[00:00.00]
  • The Philippines and Indonesia are working together to stop supporters of the Islamic State terror group from entering the Philippines.
  • [00:12.31]
  • Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi recently met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in the southern city of Davao for talks.
  • [00:26.37]
  • The discussion centered on Islamic State sympathizers in Indonesia going to the Philippines to join anti-government fighters.
  • [00:39.17]
  • Duterte and the Indonesian foreign minister agreed to additional cooperation in stopping terrorism.
  • [00:47.16]
  • The website of the president’s office said they also discussed “maritime security.”
  • [00:55.22]
  • Indonesia is mainly a Muslim country. It has so-called sleeper cells of people who sympathize with the Islamic State.
  • [01:06.55]
  • The extremist group has mainly been driven out of bases in Iraq and Syria.
  • [01:13.70]
  • The U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group says that in 2016 Islamic State, or IS, picked a Filipino rebel as its leader in Southeast Asia.
  • [01:29.60]
  • Reports, however, say that he was recently killed.
  • [01:34.71]
  • Some Indonesian sympathizers worked with Filipino rebels in a five-month war in the southern Philippines last year.
  • [01:45.55]
  • Philippine officials believe that Indonesians and also Malaysians went to the southern island Mindanao at that time.
  • [01:56.65]
  • They are believed to have supported local rebels who sympathize with the Islamic State group.
  • [02:04.24]
  • That fighting in the Philippines killed at least 1,127 people, including more than 900 militants.
  • [02:14.86]
  • In October, Philippine troops declared victory over the Maute Group of Muslim rebels.
  • [02:23.98]
  • The group had declared allegiance to Islamic State, which is also referred to as ISIS.
  • [02:32.43]
  • A police spokesman in Jakarta told reporters that at least 38 Indonesians were helping Philippine rebels as of last June.
  • [02:45.89]
  • That is one month after fighting broke out in the Philippine city of Marawi.
  • [02:53.27]
  • Bibhu Routray is a visiting security and counter-terrorism professor at Murdoch University in Australia.
  • [03:03.34]
  • He says some of the 40 to 50 foreign rebel supporters in Marawi had traveled from Indonesia to fight for Islamic State after the group called for volunteers.
  • [03:18.39]
  • Thirty Indonesians got there from Syria and it is believed they were sent by Islamic State, Routray said.
  • [03:27.46]
  • He added that on their return home they went through the Philippines.
  • [03:34.11]
  • He said this suggests that Islamic State sent them to fight in Marawi.
  • [03:41.27]
  • The Indonesian government said in November it would support the Philippine efforts to stop Islamic State in Marawi.
  • [03:52.56]
  • In June, the same government had sent 119 police officers and 200 special forces to Sulawesi Island to help the army stop terrorists.
  • [04:07.22]
  • Philippine officials have warned against new Muslim rebel violence in Mindanao although they say Marawi is under control.
  • [04:18.91]
  • Eduardo Araral is an associate professor at the National University of Singapore.
  • [04:25.89]
  • He said, “I think it’s logical that Indonesia should always keep its guards up, because they know for a fact that their main sleeper cells around Indonesia are waiting for opportunities to come.”
  • [04:37.38]
  • About 20 Muslim rebel groups operate in Mindanao.
  • [04:43.25]
  • The large island is rich in resources by economically poor.
  • [04:50.31]
  • People there say the majority Catholic country has taken a lopsided share of resources although there are many Muslims on the island.
  • [05:03.44]
  • Violence has killed about 120,000 people on Mindanao since the 1960s.
  • [05:11.75]
  • The Straits Times of Singapore online newspaper reports that Islamic State “sleeper cells” operate in most Indonesian provinces.
  • [05:23.60]
  • The extremist Islamic group East Indonesia Mujaheedin recruits young people on Sulawesi Island.
  • [05:34.63]
  • It has promised to support Islamic State.
  • [05:38.61]
  • Experts say there is a lack of security patrols in the Celebes Sea.
  • [05:45.30]
  • The body of water south of Mindanao and east of Borneo.
  • [05:50.96]
  • But Indonesia and the Philippines do have reached maritime agreements before.
  • [05:57.44]
  • They signed an agreement in 2014 after twenty years of talks on formal boundaries around their economic zones in the Celebes Sea.
  • [06:09.18]
  • I’m Susan Shand
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