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Fighting piracy by fighting poverty

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

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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.

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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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