Philippines to tighten south sea border against JI terrorists

Updated: 2006-09-24 17:04
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The Philippine government wants to improve boarder patrol on the sea with its neighbors Indonesia and Malaysia to deter the entry of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a Southeast Asian regional terrorist network, a senior official said on Sunday.

Philippine Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz told reporters that he has proposed to his Malaysian and Indonesian counterparts the setting up of sea lanes to effectively monitor the movement of ships along the boarder.

The joint measure would allow "legitimate traffic and movement of people within these lanes," Cruz added.

If set up, these lanes would allow authorities from the three countries to check ships traveling outside these designated lanes, Cruz said, adding the proposals were based on military intelligence that JI members have been penetrating into the Philippines' southern island of Mindanao.

Around 30 JI militants are reportedly operating in the Philippines. While leading JI bombers Dulmatin and Omar Patek are being hunted by Filipino troops in Sulu near Mindanao, local Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khadaffy Janjalani is believed to be their host.

Dulmatin and Patek were allegedly responsible in the 2002 bombing in Bali, Indonesia that left 200 people dead.