Abu Sayyaf militants abduct 2 workers in Philippines
Two telecommunications workers abducted in Sulu province by Abu Sayyaf rebels seeking ransoms
Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militants have abducted two employees of a telecommunications company in the southern Philippines, the latest captives by a ransom-seeking group that still holds other hostages, including two European tourists, officials said on Wednesday.
Marine Colonel Jose Cenabre said three men were travelling on motorcycles after inspecting a cell phone transmission facility when they were stopped by about 10 Abu Sayyaf gunmen on Tuesday in the mountainous Patikul town in Sulu province.
One of the three managed to escape while they were being dragged into the jungle. Marines looking for the gunmen and their victims later took into custody a suspected Abu Sayyaf militant for questioning, Cenabre said by telephone from Sulu, a predominantly Muslim province about 950 kilometres south of Manila.
Government troops normally provide security for workers involved in infrastructure projects, but the abducted men did not ask for military escorts, he said.
Although weakened by years of military setbacks, the Abu Sayyaf group remains a security threat and holds several hostages, including two European birdwatchers and a Jordanian journalist.
Such abductions are far fewer today than the numerous kidnappings that terrorised Sulu and outlying provinces in the early 2000s.