Hostages killed in Philippines

Police in the southern Philippines say five hostages kidnapped from Malaysia three weeks ago have been killed and one rescued, in a shoot-out with a kidnapping gang.

The captives, seized from a resort in the Malaysian province of Sabah, had been traced to Tawi-Tawi province in the Philippines after a tip-off from Malaysian police.

An unknown number of casualties were inflicted on the kidnappers, according to police.

One hostage was found alive after the shootout. He was identified by police as Nonoy Arkusil, an Indonesian.

There were conflicting reports about how the other hostages were killed.

Arkusil told a local radio station that the captives were gunned down on Monday night because no ransom had been paid.

He said he had managed to run away.

But the regional police commander, Chief Superintendent Akmad Omar, said: "the hostages were said to be used as human shields by the Abu Sayyaf rebels during the clash. There was a bloody firefight."

The six workers - three Indonesians and three Filipinos - were abducted on 5 October from the beach resort in Sabah.

Malaysian police say the captors were bandits from Sabah, but there has been speculation that the hostage-takers were members of militant Philippine group the Abu Sayyaf, which Manila has said is linked with al-Qaeda.

In 2000, Abu Sayyaf militants kidnapped tourists, including foreigners, from Malaysian diving resorts on small islands off the same coast.

28/10/2003

Bron : BBC World News

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