Three Red Cross workers, including an Italian and a Swiss national, were kidnapped on Thursday by suspected Muslim rebels on a southern Philippine island, officials said.
Senator Richard Gordon, the head of the Philippine National Red Cross, told Reuters the three, who also included a filipino, were travelling to provincial jail on the island of Jolo when they were stopped and taken away by an armed group.
Marine officials on Jolo confirmed the incident.
The Abu Sayyaf, the smallest and deadliest of Muslim rebel groups operating in the Philippines were believed to be responsible, officials said.
The group is notorious for kidnappings and is based on Jolo and the nearby island of Basilan.
"I am appealing to the Abu Sayyaf to free those people, because they are neutral in any conflict," Gordon said. "They do not realise this but these people help them if they get wounded and get them out of the conflict areas."
he Abu Sayyaf has twice attacked luxury beach resorts and taken aeay tourists, including Westerners. They have held them for months at a time and secured large ransoms for their release.
In 2001, three kidnap victims, including an American, were beheaded by their captors.
The Abu Sayyaf has also been blamed for the bombing of a ferry near Manily Bay in 2004 that killed 100 people.