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Health worker, 2 teachers abducted in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (AP) – Officials say suspected Muslim militants have abducted a Filipino health worker after stopping an ambulance in the restive southern Philippines.

Police Director Felicisimo Khu said Tuesday that Abu Sayyaf militants were believed responsible for the abduction on Jolo Island. The al-Qaida-linked rebels are also holding five foreigners for ransom, including an Australian and two Europeans.

In another southern province, police say gunmen believed to be members of a kidnapping gang seized two local teachers in a remote mountain village near Iligan city. Senior Inspector Arnel Polo suspects extortion as the motive.

Proliferation of weapons and the presence of criminals and Muslim rebels have caused unrest in parts of the southern Philippines for decades.

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