Indonesian soldiers (Source: AFP/VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The Philippine Government has allowed Indonesia’s military forces to enter its territory to rescue seven Indonesian sailors taken hostage by extremist groups last week, said Indonesian Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu on June 28.

Ryacudu told reporters that the arrangement was decided during his meeting with his Philippine counterpart Voltaire Gazmin two days earlier, according to Japanese Kyodo.

The move is possible under a 1975 bilateral agreement between the two countries that enables the Indonesian forces to hunt terrorists and pirates across the border of the two countries.

At the meeting, the two ministers also discussed the repeated kidnappings of Indonesian sailors conducted by militant groups in the southern Philippines, including Abu Sayyaf.

The Philippines also decided to allow Indonesian soldiers to escort Indonesian vessels sailing to and from the country so that they can take quick action in the circumstance their ships are attacked.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in a press statement on the same day that based on information she had received, the condition of the seven hostages is good. They are kept in or around Jolo island.

According to Indonesian Defence Force Commander Gatot Nurmantyo, the hostages were detained by Abu Sayyaf and its faction al-Habsy Misaya.

Founded in the early 1990s, Abu Sayyaf is a network of some 400 Islamic militants who carry out bombings, kidnappings and the beheading of hostages. It has become a serious threat for security in the Philippines and was held responsibile for the worst attacks seen in the country, including a ferry bombing that killed 100 people in 2004.-VNA