Western governments are warning their citizens against travelling to nearly all of the southern third of the Philippines, citing the rising threats of terror attacks and kidnappings by Islamist militants
Indonesia and Australia on Saturday co-hosted a counter-terrorism meeting to address the rising threat of foreign fighters, as the Philippines battles pro-Islamic State militants.
The one-day gathering in North Sulawesi brings together six countries including Malaysia, Philippines and New Zealand.
Ministers are due to discuss the challenges posed by growing terrorism in Southeast Asia as well as concerns that IS is trying establish a regional caliphate in the Philippines, where government forces are pitted against Islamist gunmen holed up in a southern city.
“I am hopeful that this meeting will produce a valuable outcome so together we could fight terrorism, especially in Marawi, Southern Phillipines,” Indonesia’s chief security minister Wiranto told journalists late Friday ahead of the event.
Parts of Southeast Asia have long struggled with Islamic militancy, with hundreds of radicals from the region flocking to join IS in Iraq and Syria.
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