Duterte calls on Malaysia, Indonesia to ‘blast’ pirates out of the sea

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on October 19th that he would ask the leaders of Indonesia and Malaysia to “blast” pirates out of regional waters and would refocus security efforts to solve the problem. The Duterte aim appears to be to destroy Abu Sayyaf – a kidnap-for-ransom network that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terror group – in the same way he declared the southern city of Marawi to be “liberated from terrorists’ influence” following a nearly five-month battle against militants including Abu Sayyaf members. “Blast them out of the seas to keep our shipping lanes open and safe. They have committed enough piracy there, enough money collected from ransoms,” Duterte said in a speech at a forum for Southeast Asian diplomats and leaders in Manila. Duterte said that Islamist militants continued to threaten Southeast Asia’s supply routes and shipping lanes. He specified the Straits of Melaka, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes between Peninsular Malaysia and Indonesia’s Sumatra island, as suffering from “terrorism”.