Abducted official talks rebels into surrender in Philippines



MANILA, Philippines — The abducted police chief of a southern Philippine city besieged by Muslim rebels walked free Tuesday after hours in captivity, bringing 23 of his armed captors who surrendered, officials said.

Ninety people have been killed and more than 82,000 displaced in the nine-day siege of Zamboanga City, about 550 miles south of Manila, by members of the Moro National Liberation Front.

Senior Superintendent Chiquito Malayo, the city police chief, was seized with four other officers while negotiating for the release of other hostages held by the MNLF.

Less than six hours later, he emerged from captivity with 23 armed MNLF rebels who surrendered to him, said Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, a military spokesman.

MNLF forces seized the police officers as troops rescued 123 hostages held since the hostilities began on Sept. 9, Zagala said.

Three soldiers were killed in the rescue operations, bringing to eight the number of soldiers killed in nine days of fighting, Zagala said. The number of MNLF rebels killed rose to 72, he added.

Three police officers and seven civilians were also killed in the hostilities.