More Philippines hostages released

Negotiations resume over remaining villagers held by armed men in Mindanao.

    Government negotiators travelled to Mindanao on Friday to try to secure the release of the remaining villagers from the armed hostage-takers, believed to be former members of a militia known as the "Perez group".

    Seventeen children and an elderly woman were released hours after the initial kidnapping.

    Clan wars

    Negotiations resumed early on Friday in three remote hilltop huts in the southern Philippine hinterland, surrounded by hundreds of security forces.

    Jaime Milla, a police chief, said the hostage-takers in the Agusan del Sur province were former militiamen who had been dismissed and turned to banditry and extortion, targeting mining and logging companies in the area.

    Two brothers among the armed group were wanted for murder.

    One of them, Joebert Perez, told reporters on Friday that the charges against him were fabricated, and he blamed a rival clan for the killings.

    Local authorities said the abductions were linked to clan wars among the local indigenous tribes.

    "In my analysis ... the hostage-taking was only for making human shields," Santiago Cane, the provincial vice-governor, said. "They want the standing warrant of arrest issued against them revoked."

    Clan wars, known locally as "rido", are common in communities in southern Philippines.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.