HANOI: Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines have agreed to hold a joint land patrol exercise next month to tackle security challenges in the waters between Borneo island and the southern Philippines, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

Indonesian Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu on Wednesday said the trilateral exercise will be held in the Indonesian town of Tarakan in East Kalimantan province, the Indonesian part of Borneo island, as the three Southeast Asian countries band together against Islamist militancy.

The three countries now have maritime command centres in various locations around the region that provide information and intelligence sharing.

Since early 2017, dozens of Indonesians and Malaysians have been abducted in the Sulu Sea, a body of water in the southwestern area of the Philippines, by armed men linked to the notoriously violent Abu Sayyaf rebel group.

Apart from kidnappings for ransom, Abu Sayyaf rebel group has engaged in bombings, assassinations and extortion, making it one of the most serious security threats faced by the Philippines. - Bernama