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Indonesia wants navy escorts for boats

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Indonesia's defence minister Ryamizard Ryacudu has proposed military escorts for boats sailing to the Philippines, where sailors have been kidnapped by militants recently.

Twenty-four Indonesian crew members and a few Malaysians have been abducted this year in the waterway between the three countries.

Over the weekend, three Indonesian sailors were snatched in Malaysian waters by gun-toting men and taken towards the Philippines, AFP reported.

The transport ministry last month banned Indonesian-flagged vessels from sailing to the Philippines, but Mr Ryamizard said he planned to make their journeys safe, once they were allowed to sail again.

The boats heading from Indonesia should follow an appointed route in groups, be accompanied by military personnel and escorted by an Indonesian navy vessel, he said.