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Three Red Cross Workers Seized in Southern Philippines

In the southern Philippines, suspected Islamic militants have seized three workers with the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Philippine Senator Richard Gordon, the head of the nation's Red Cross, says the three were seized Thursday while traveling to a jail on the island of Jolo. They were on Jolo for a relief and medical mission.

Gordon urged the hostage takers to free the three workers, noting that they were actually people who help victims of war and conflict.

Although no one has claimed responsibility, authorities suspect Abu Sayyaf militants were involved. Jolo is a stronghold of Abu Sayyaf, an al-Qaida linked terrorist group notorious for kidnappings.

In 2000, Abu Sayyaf militants kidnapped over a dozen Western tourists from a beach resort in Malaysia and brought them back to Jolo. They were released in exchange for millions of dollars in ransom money.

The three workers have been identified as Andreas Notter from Switzerland, Italian Eugenio Vagni and Jean Lacaba of the Philippines.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.