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No MNLF rescue of 3 foreign hostages of Abu Sayyaf - military

MANILA - The military's Western Mindanao Command denied reports that three foreign hostages of the Abu Sayyaf Group were rescued by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

Colonel Rodrigo Gregorio, Wesmincom spokesman, said a check with the 2nd Marine Brigade commander based in Sulu showed that there have been no MNLF offensives against the ASG since Sunday.

A certain Emmanuel Fontanilla, who introduced himself as a spokesman of the MNLF, told several media interviews that the MNLF were able to rescue three foreign hostages from the ASG on Tuesday, inluding two Dutchmen and a Swiss national.

"Wala pong katotohanan yan. Yung commander sa ground, yung commander ng 2nd marine brigade (Col. Orlando de Leon) siya mismo nag-deny lahat ng information na yun na lumalabas na hindi totoo yun," Gregorio said in a phone interview.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) earlier said the ASG is holding at least five more foreigners hostage in Sulu, including Jordanian journalist Baker Atyani and two European birdwatchers.

Gregorio said Fontanilla was spreading "disinformation" to the media.

In an earlier interview, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Emmanuel Bautista said soldiers in Sulu were instructed to maintain vigilance while at the same time ensure that the conflict does not spillover to other areas in Sulu.
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