MANILA, Philippines – Police say masked gunmen seized a fishing boat and its eight crewmen in the southern Philippines but freed them hours later after a ransom was paid.
Regional police commander Felicisimo Khu Jr. says the four gunmen forced the boat's skipper and his crew to return to Malangas town in Zamboanga Sibugay province after Saturday's attack to raise the ransom for their freedom.
Khu said Monday that the gunmen fled after receiving the money and were being hunted by police and navy personnel.
Many fishing boats have come under attack from outlaws and al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf militants in the Philippines' volatile south.
The Abu Sayyaf bombed a ferry that killed 116 people in Manila Bay in 2004 after failing to extort money from its owner.