Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Philippine Hostage's Role Murky, Police Say

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Philippine Hostage's Role Murky, Police Say

Article excerpt

JOLO, Philippines -- An American being held hostage by Muslim rebels visited their camp twice before being abducted and discussed procuring night vision goggles for them, the Philippine national police chief said yesterday.

Jeffrey Schilling, of Oakland, Calif., was taken captive by the Abu Sayyaf rebels Aug. 28 after he visited their camp on Jolo island in Sulu province. Schilling says rebel leaders abducted him after they began suspecting he was a CIA agent, which he denies.

But national police chief Panfilo Lacson said Schilling also had visited a rebel camp on the nearby province of Basilan.

"Twice in the past two years Schilling visited the Abu Sayyaf camp in Basilan [and met] with Abu Sayyaf leaders for the procurement of night vision goggles," Lacson said.

"Because he went there without any difficulty, we are wondering why he was kidnapped, because he went to Sulu and transacted business."

The rebel faction holding Schilling previously operated on Basilan, but fled to Jolo to escape a military assault after they kidnapped about 50 children and teachers. …

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