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Fighting piracy by fighting poverty

Attacks at sea by Abu Sayyaf are acts of crime, not religious extremism.

Philippine troops with the bodies of Abu Sayyaf militants after an encounter in Sulu province in September. The group's members have been described as poor and desperate.

Despite fewer incidents, the threat to maritime safety has escalated, says Mr Kuroki, citing a rise in fatal incidents.

ASIA appears to be winning the battle against terrorism - at least on the high seas.

Last year saw the lowest number of reported incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the region since 2007 - the 85 reported in 2016 was 58 per cent fewer than in 2015.

But the battle

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