Al-Qaida linked Abu Sayyaf militants have abducted two employees of a telecommunications company in the southern Philippines, the latest captives by a ransom-seeking group that still holds other hostages, including two European tourists, officials said on Wednesday.
Marine Col. Jose Cenabre said three men were traveling on motorcycles after inspecting a cellphone transmission facility when they were stopped by about 10 Abu Sayyaf gunmen Tuesday in mountainous Patikul town in Sulu province.
One of the three managed to escape while they were being dragged into the jungle.
Marines looking for the gunmen and their victims later took into custody a suspected Abu Sayyaf militant for questioning, Cenabre said by telephone from Sulu, a predominantly Muslim province about 950 kilometers (590 miles) south of Manila.
Government troops normally provide security for workers involved in infrastructure projects, but the abducted men did not ask for military escorts, he said.
Although weakened by years of military setbacks, the Abu Sayyaf group remains a security threat and holds several hostages, including two European birdwatchers and a Jordanian journalist.
Such abductions are far fewer today than the numerous kidnappings that terrorized Sulu and outlying provinces in the early 2000s.