US ready to help Southeast Asia fight extremist sea attacks

A U.S. Navy official says the United States is concerned about a series of attacks and abductions of tugboat crewmen by Abu Sayyaf extremists in Southeast Asian waters and is willing to lend a hand if needed.

Rear Adm. Brian Hurley said in an interview Monday the U.S. Navy has worked with Southeast Asian governments to ensure freedom of navigation and the safety of people in the region and will continue to do so.

Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines have agreed to take possible coordinated actions, including sea and air patrols, and establish a “transit corridor” as designated sea lanes for boats and ships in the high seas bordering them to stop an alarming wave of cross-border attacks by Abu Sayyaf extremists and allied militants.

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