Abu Sayyaf
Abu Sayyaf terrorists kidnap government worker in Sulu (Reuters)

Terrorists linked to al-Qaida have kidnapped a government worker after breaking into a compound in the Philippines.

Jesus Cabilin, the provincial treasurer for the Sulu province, was kidnapped by 10 Abu Sayyaf militants after they broke into the main government compound in the village of Bangkal in Patikul town.

Jose Cenabre, a Philippine military official, said two police bodyguards opened fire at the terrorists but were overwhelmed by them.

Abu Sayyaf gunmen kidnapped Cabilin from his quarters and authorities say the motive for the attack is still unknown - the terrorist group is yet to contact the government for a ransom.

It is not clear how the militants managed to slip past security in a van to gain access to the compound.

It was the second attack by Abu Sayyaf in recent days, with militants on a motorcycle throwing a grenade in Jolo town last week, killing one marine and wounding two others.


Security forces are now working to track down Cabilin and around 17 other people being held hostage by the group, including two telecommunications employees from southern Philippines who were taken earlier this month.

The hostages also include two European tourists who were taken while bird watching and a Jordanian journalist, who was kidnapped last year.

The group has also been blamed for an attack on Pop Pom island earlier this month, in which a Chinese businessman was shot dead and his wife abducted.

Gunmen stormed into a restaurant on the island resort where the Chinese couple were staying and took An Wie Chang in a boat heading towards the southern Philippines.

Abu Sayyaf gained notoriety in the early 2000s for mass kidnappings that took place in Sulu and surrounding areas, targeting tourists, journalists and Red Cross workers.