Islamic militants seize two soldiers in southern Philippines

Islamic militants seize two soldiers in southern PhilippinesManila  - Islamic militants have seized two marine intelligence officers on a southern Philippine island, a senior defence official said Thursday.

Defence Secretary Gilberto Teodoro said the two soldiers were seized Tuesday in a village in Tipo-Tipo town in Basilan province, 900 kilometres south of Manila.

Teodoro said the two hostages met with a rogue commander of the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the area who was allegedly planning to surrender to the government.

"They (soldiers) were lured and they were not allowed to leave," he said.

Late last month, two militants were killed and more than 20 soldiers were wounded when combined forces of MILF and Abu Sayyaf rebels attacked a marine camp in nearby Ungkaya Pukan town.

Basilan is a known lair of Abu Sayyaf rebels, who have been blamed for deadly terrorist attacks in the Philippines. The United States has linked the group to the al-Qaeda terrorist network. (dpa)