Asia

Duterte says OK to bomb fleeing militants and their hostages

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says he told his Indonesian and Malaysian counterparts that their forces can bomb fleeing Philippine militants and their kidnap victims at sea because the hostages "are not supposed to be there."

Duterte said in a speech Wednesday he told Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo that their forces could enter Philippine waters while pursuing Muslim militants who are fleeing with hostages.

Duterte said he told the leaders that if the militants were about to escape, "bomb them. If they cannot be captured you bomb them. How about the hostages? Eh, bomb them also. They're not supposed to be there, there is a warning."

Despite the high-level talks, kidnappings by Philippine Abu Sayyaf militants have continued along the three countries' sea borders.