Gun­men kid­nap four Philip­pine work­ers

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

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.

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