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Red Cross workers kidnapped in Philippines

  • Story Highlights
  • Men on motorcycles with machine-guns abduct aid workers in Jolo, Sulu province
  • The three workers are from the International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Unclear who abducted the workers, who include an Italian, a Swiss and a Filipina
  • Several Islamic militant groups are active in the southern Philippines
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(CNN) -- Men on motorcycles with machine-guns abducted three workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the southern Philippines Thursday morning, officials said.

The team was en route to the airport when it was kidnapped in the town of Jolo in Sulu province, said Roland Bigler, an ICRC spokesman.

The workers include an Italian, a Swiss and a Filipina. They were in the region to inspect a provincial prison as part of their regular duties.

Philippine security forces are pursuing the abductors, according to Richard Gordon of the Philippine National Red Cross.

He urged the kidnappers to release the workers, saying they are neutral players in the sometimes turbulent southern provinces.

Several Islamic militant groups, some of which have ties to al Qaeda, are active in the southern Philippines. It is unclear who was responsible for the attack.

Last month, armed men attacked a U.N. truck carrying food to the southern Philippines, killing the driver's assistant.

CNN's Kathy Quiano and Igor Krotov contributed to this story.

All About PhilippinesAl QaedaInternational Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

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