World Bulletin / News Desk
The head of the Philippine armed forces on Sunday welcomed the arrest in Indonesia of a leading terrorist recruiter and fundraiser.
Gen. Eduardo Ano said the arrest of the suspect, identified only as S.P., was a major breakthrough in the region’s counter-terrorism strategy.
He also praised it as a sign of fluid cooperation between the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.
“This is a major boost to our campaign against terrorism with our counterparts,” Ano said. “We are very happy our counterparts are really serious in our counter-terrorism cooperation.”
The countries, which sit around the Sulu and Celebes seas in a region that has become a focus for extremism in southeast Asia, have a trilateral agreement on maritime patrols and aerial surveillance to combat terrorism, cross-border crime and piracy.
“We need the cooperation of our neighboring countries,” Ano added. “If we're the only one doing it they can just get away so there should be coordinated efforts.”
Philippines has been fighting extremists linked to al-Qaeda and latterly ISIL since the 1990s while both Indonesia and Malaysia have problems with extremists.
S.P. is said to work on behalf of the pro-ISIL Maute group that took control of Marawi City in the southern Philippines in May and is still holding out against security forces.
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