Muslim extremists abduct U.S. man

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines, AFP

Philippine officials said Tuesday an American man has been abducted by the Muslim extremists who threatened to kill him unless Washington freed World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Youssef and two other convicts.

Jeffrey Craig Schilling, 24, was kidnapped in southern Zamboanga city on Monday and taken to nearby Jolo island, where he joined six European and 17 Filipino hostages held by the Abu Sayyaf for up to four months, officals said.

In response to the rebels’ demands, the United States yesterday said that it would only accept the unconditional release of the American hostage, and refused to negotiate in any way with the Muslim rebels. Contrary to claims by the Abu Sayyaf, a U.S. official denied that Schilling is a U.S. government employee.