Indonesian Military chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo and the Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim at the Religious Ministry in Jakarta on Wednesday (31/05). (Antara Photo/Widodo S Jusuf)

Indonesian Military Deploy More Troops, Weapons to Ward Off Philippine Militants


JUNE 02, 2017

Jakarta. Indonesian Military Chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo said the Indonesian Navy will beef up security patrols in Indonesian waters bordering the southern Philippines to prevent Islamist militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, from entering Indonesian territory.

The statement came as fighting continues between Philippine government forces and ISIS-affiliated rebels in Marawi City in the island of Mindanao in southern Philippines, 517 kilometers north of the Indonesian province of North Sulawesi.

Gatot said the Indonesian Navy will drop extra weapons and surveillance equipment for its warships patrolling the sea borders with the Philippines.

The sea patrols will be concentrated on waters north of the island of Halmahera in Maluku and on the Sulawesi Sea.

"We will keep a very close eye on any movements on Indonesian waters off Halmahera, Morotai, Siangir, Malore and on the Sulawesi Sea," Gatot said in Jakarta on Thursday (01/06).

The Navy has also enlisted the help of local fishermen to prevent ISIS militants from entering Indonesian territory through the sea.

"Some fishermen are helping Navy personnel to patrol coastlines in these areas," Gatot said.

The military has already deployed more soldiers and intelligence operatives in North Sulawesi in anticipation of any moves by Philippine Islamist militants to move their battleground to Indonesian territory.

Gatot declined to say exactly how many extra troops have been sent to North Sulawesi, noting only that "there are many of them. I can't say how many exactly, but we also have battleships and other military equipment ready there."

Watch Indonesia Highlights at 8 p.m. tonight on the Jakarta Globe News Channel to find out more.