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Timeline: Hostage crisis in the Philippines

23 April 2000 - Abu Sayyaf gunmen attack a Malaysian dive resort on the island of Sipadan, seizing 21 hostages.

The hostages -- 10 tourists and 11 resort workers -- were taken to an Abu Sayaff camp on the southern Philippine island of Jolo.

Over the following months all but one of the hostages, a Filipino, were released, allegedly after ransoms of up to $1million per hostage were paid to the kidnappers.

1 July 2000 - A group of Philippine evangelists who visited the Jolo camp to pray for the hostages are themselves taken hostage.

2 July 2000 - A German reporter covering the story is seized. He is eventually released after paying ransom.

9 July 2000 - A French TV crew visiting Jolo to cover the hostage crisis are kidnapped.

28 August 2000 - American Jeffrey Schilling, whose wife is a relative of one of the Abu Sayyaf leaders, is seized by a separate faction of the Abu Sayyaf.

Despite several threats to behead him, he is eventually freed from captivity during a military raid on the camp where he was held.

10 September 2000 - Three Malaysians are seized from the Malaysian diving resort of Pandanan, again by gunmen belonging to the Abu Sayyaf.

The three are taken to an Abu Sayyaf camp on the island of Jolo.

27 May 2001 - 20 people, majority of them holidaymakers, are seized from the tourist resort of Dos Palmas on the island of Palawan. Among those seized are three Americans and 17 Filipinos.

28 May 2001 - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declares an "all out war" against Abu Sayyaf after the group claimed responsibility for the abduction.

30 May 2001 - The United States government rules out paying ransom to free the American hostages.

1 June 2001- Abu Sayyaf claims two hostages have been killed in an exchange of gunfire with government military troops. The group also threatens a "mass execution" if military pursuit persists.

2 June 2001 - The Abu Sayyaf seizes more hostages, including Filipina nurse Deborah Yap, from a hospital building in Lamitan to evade pursuing government troops in Basilan last year.

3 June 2001 - Eight hostages, including an 8-year-old boy, manage to escape.

4 June 2001 - Philippine police find the bodies of two Filipino hostages. One of the bodies had been beheaded and the other in a state of decomposition.

5 June 2001 - Villagers report sightings of the hostages lashed together with a rope being dragged by their captors through the jungle near Tuburan town in Basilan.

6 June 2001 - Abu Sayyaf threatens to behead American hostages and demands the appointment of two Malaysian negotiators and the halt of military operations against them.

11 June 2001 - Abu Sayyaf threatens to kill an American hostage by midday unless the government calls off its military offensive against the group.

Minutes before noon, the Philippine government accepts the group's demands to negotiate with Sairin Karno, former Malaysian senator.

During the same day, the militant group takes another 15 captives in an attack on the town of Lantawan, near the capital of Basilan, including two 12-year-old children.

12 June 2001 - Abu Sayyaf claims to have beheaded an American hostage, Guillermo Sobero.

13 June 2001 - Filipino troops find two headless corpses but say neither of them is the body of American hostage, Guillermo Sobero. The bodies are believed to be that of two Filipino men who had been negotiating with the Abu Sayyaf.

President Arroyo says she will negotiate with Abu Sayyaf kidnappers provided they release all their hostages.

16 June 2001 - Three Filipino hostages are released.

18 June 2001 - President Arroyo visits Basilan and says she will not offer any ransom.

22 June 2001 - Three severed heads are found. They are reported to belong to Philippine soldiers.

23 June 2001 - Two headless bodies have been identified as belonging to Filipino plantation workers kidnapped earlier in June.

28 June 2001 - Philippine security officials say they have captured one senior member of the Abu Sayyaf guerilla group and a second who was allegedly on a mission to set up terrorist operations in Manila.

3 July 2001 - The Abu Sayyaf frees two Filipino hostages.

9 July 2001 - Police arrest Abu Sayyaf top leader, "Commander Global", along with three other members of the group.

15 October 2001 - Abu Sayyaf admit links with international terrorist group Al-Qaeda.

December 2001 - A group of United States military advisers arrive in Southern Philippines. "Balikatan 02," a joint military exercise between U.S. and Philippines troops, is launched.

January 2002 - Some 660 U.S. troops arrive in the Philippines to take part in the exercises.

The U.S. troops are prevented from taking part in actual military operations and will only provide training and logistical support.

25 March 2002 -- The Philippine military rejects an offer from Abu Sayyaf rebels to release a hostage in exchange for a temporary cease-fire and medical care for one of its commanders.

01 May 2002 - Abu Sayyaf threatens to kill two Americans it is holding hostage after the government's refusal earlier to negotiate.

29 May 2002 - The United States offers a reward of up to $5 million for the arrest or conviction of five leaders of the Abu Sayyaf.

7 June 2002 - A Filipina nurse, Deborah Yap, and a U.S. missionary, Martin Burnham, held hostage by Muslim rebels for more than a year are killed during a rescue attempt. The final kidnap victim, Martin's wife Gracia, is wounded but survives and is freed.

20 August 2002 - Eight Philippine locals, believed to be door-to-door cosmetics sales people, are kidnapped on Jolo island by the Abu Sayyaf in their first such strike since the six-month U.S. and Philippine campaign against them.

August 25, 2002 - Philippine troops shoot dead a notorious leader kidnapping gang the Pentagon, rescuing a four-year-old girl and her nanny from a week-long captivity.




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