| GEO World|
| Abu Sayyaf militants reject Filipino troop pullout|
| Updated at: 0920 PST, Sunday, March 29, 2009|
MANILA: A Philippine official says al-Qaida-linked militants have rejected a limited pullout of government forces from around their jungle stronghold and will not free any of their three Red Cross hostages.
Sulu provincial Gov. Abdusakur Tan said Abu Sayyaf commander Albader Parad told him by phone Sunday that a limited withdrawal of marines, police and armed village guards on southern Jolo Island was not acceptable.
Tan says the militant group is insisting on a total pullout. The latest development leaves uncertain the fate of the Filipino, Italian and Swiss hostages, who have been threatened with beheading.