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Indonesia to Hold Regional Talks After Kidnappings at Sea

  • Associated Press

President of Indonesia Joko Widodo speaks to the media during a meeting with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street, in London, April 19, 2016.

President of Indonesia Joko Widodo speaks to the media during a meeting with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street, in London, April 19, 2016.

Indonesia's president said Tuesday that his government will host talks with Malaysia and the Philippines this week to boost maritime security following the kidnappings at sea of Indonesians by suspected Abu Sayyaf militants.

President Joko "Jokowi'' Widodo said the meeting of foreign ministers and military chiefs will discuss joint patrols to protect shipping in the waters between the three countries. He said the meeting would be held this week, but did not give a specific date.

Fourteen Indonesians are among more than 20 people being held hostage in the southern Philippines. They were crew members of two Indonesian tug boats hijacked in separate incidents in March and this month.

The company that owns the tug boat involved in the March incident has received telephone calls, purportedly from Abu Sayyaf, demanding a ransom.

But Jokowi ruled out an exchange of money for the hostages by the government. "We will never compromise on such a thing,'' he said.

Abu Sayyaf militants beheaded a Canadian hostage Monday and dumped his head on a roadside in a plastic bag in the southern Philippine province of Sulu.

The militants had threatened to behead one of two Canadians and a Norwegian they kidnapped last September from a marina on southern Samal Island if a large ransom was not paid by Monday afternoon.

Jokowi said the government's information is that the Indonesian hostages are in good health.

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