Philippines: June 1, 2001

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Troops caught up with Abu Sayyaf rebels, and a dozen or more of their hostages, including three Americans, on Basilan island. Two soldiers were killed and the rebels fled. Later, rebels called in to a local radio station to report that two of the hostages were hit in the cross fire. Rebels also vowed to kill their hostages if the army did not back off. President Arroyo said there would be no ransom and no negotiations with the rebels. The army is sending more troops into Basilan, with the intention of surrounding the rebels in the mountainous jungles of Basilan. This would set the stage for a siege or, more likely, an assault to free the hostages. In the past, the rebels have proved capable of escaping army cordons in the jungles. But this time, the rebels do not have a lot of time to set up camps. 

 

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