Gunmen kidnap four Philippine workers
JOLO, Philippines — Suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen abducted four workers in a school in a southern Philippine province hours before President Rodrigo Duterte visited troops waging an offensive against the militants, officials said Sunday.
About 20 militants barged into a grade school compound in Sulu province’s Patikul town shortly after midnight Saturday and seized six painters and carpenters, one of whom managed to escape and alerted the police. Army troops later rescued another worker.
Duterte pinned medals on wounded troops during a brief visit late Saturday to Sulu, a predominantly Muslim province about 590 miles south of Manila. The president has ordered government forces to destroy the ransom-seeking militants, who still hold about 25 foreign and Filipino hostages in Sulu’s jungles.
Meanwhile, 14 inmates, including suspected Abu Sayyaf fighters and drug dealers, escaped early Sunday from a jail in a new building that also houses the police headquarters in a government compound in Sulu’s main town of Jolo, police said.
Three of those who escaped were gunned down by police and another was shot and captured. Army troops were helping police track down the rest with the use of military drones and sniffer dogs, a police statement said.