Muslim rebels join hunt for Aussie

MUSLIM rebels engaged in peace talks with the Philippine government said they had joined the search for an Australian man kidnapped by an armed group in the troubled south of the country.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has formed a tracking unit to help authorities recover Warren Rodwell, 53, who was seized from his home by gunmen believed to be Islamic militants last month, rebel spokesman Vol Al-Haq said.

"We are working on it and all (the information) we gather, we will feed to the ad hoc joint action group," al-Haq told AFP.

He said the MILF was working to check unverified reports that Rodwell was in the hands of the smaller al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group in their southern island territory of Basilan.

Rodwell, who is married to a Filipina, had been living in the southern coastal town of Ipil for eight months prior to his abduction on December 5.

Authorities had imposed a news blackout on the search, although various sources had said his abductors likely took him across to Basilan, a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf.

Read more on the NZ Herald

Topics:  kidnapping

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