Philippine rebels warn of killing hostages
Tribal gunmen in the southern Philippines warned yesterday they would massacre dozens of hostages if police made a rescue bid, as hundreds of security forces surrounded their mountain lair.
The two-day hostage drama was the latest unrest to hit the Philippines' volatile Mindanao region, after a political massacre last month shocked the nation and triggered martial law in one province.
"I will kill the hostages if police attempt to rescue them," the gunmen's leader Ondo Perez told an AFP reporter who accompanied a government negotiator to the remote site.
But Perez released 10 of his 57 hostages shortly afterwards, according to the negotiator, Josefina Bajade. Nine of those released were women and the other was a boy, Bajade told AFP.
Bajade gave more cause for optimism as dusk fell, saying she was confident after speaking with the kidnappers that all 47 remaining hostages would be released soon.
"I expect them (the gunmen) to release the hostages any moment now," Bajade told reporters, although she gave no details on whether any concessions had been made to secure an agreement on ending the ordeal.