Al-Qaida-linked terrorists who have threatened to behead three Red Cross hostages rejected a limited pullout of government forces in exchange for the release of one of the captives, an official said Sunday.
Sulu provincial Gov. Abdusakur Tan said Abu Sayyaf commander Albader Parad told him by phone Sunday that a limited withdrawal of more than 1,000 marines, police and armed village guards on southern Jolo island was unacceptable, adding the militants will not release any hostages.
"They're insisting on a total pullout," Tan told The Associated Press by telephone. "That is their position, and he said they're not budging."
The latest development leaves uncertain the fate of three International Committee of the Red Cross workers - an Italian, a Swiss and a Filipino - who were abducted Jan. 15 after inspecting a Jolo jail water project.