Philippine Navy SEAL officers at a military practice. (​Photo: wikipedia.org)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) - Malaysia and Indonesia are working to improve security in the Sulu Sea and calling on the Philippines to take tougher actions against the Islam extremist group Abu Sayyaf, which was responsible for a number of recent kidnappings for ransom.

According to The Star, a Malaysian newspaper, Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said he and his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi want to meet the incoming Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Rodrigo Dutarte after his inauguration.

At a press conference on June 25, Anifah stated the urgent meeting could take place in one of the three countries involved.

He stressed that the Philippine military forces have secured “limited success” in dealing with the militant group and pointed to a puzzle of how the three countries should work together in the fight against Abu Sayyaf.

Both Malaysia and Indonesia voiced concern over the increasing of frequency in abductions targeting merchant shipping carried out by Abu Sayyaf. These kidnappings took place at international waters but still provoked fear among visitors to Sabah, a tourism destination in Malaysia.

On June 24, the Indonesia Ministry of Transport announced a ban to the country’s vessels from sailing to the Philippines after seven Indonesian sailors were kidnapped in the southern Philippines waters earlier last week.

On June 26, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he could be open to talks with the Islamic group and highlighted an all-out fight if they refuse to negotiate.

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