ZAMBOANGA, Philippines -- An American man kidnapped by Muslim rebels in the southern Philippines is on a hunger strike, the guerrillas said Saturday.
The Abu Sayyaf rebels had requested food and medicine be sent to their camp on remote Jolo island for Jeffrey Schilling, 24, Oakland, Calif. U.S. officials say he is seriously ill and needs regular prescription medicine, but the nature of his condition was not clear.
Asked Saturday how Schilling was, rebel spokesman Abu Sabaya replied: "He is still there. He is on a hunger strike now." He did not elaborate.
Philippine Red Cross officials instructed their staff not to deliver food to the rebels' camp because of the danger of abduction, the Radio Mindanao Network said.
Americans were also warned against traveling in the southern Philippines by the U.S. State Department on Friday.
The Abu Sayyaf, which says it is fighting for an independent Islamic state in the southern Philippines, is holding six other foreigners and 12 Filipinos. The group freed six hostages last week for a reported $6 million ransom, paid by Libya. It had freed other hostages earlier.
Philippine negotiators had hoped the Abu Sayyaf would release the six Westerners, including two French television journalists, this weekend. But chief negotiator Robert Aventajado said the release would be delayed until after the return of a Libyan envoy on Monday, at the earliest.
Libya has played a prominent role in negotiations for 21 tourists and workers, mostly foreigners, kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf from a Malaysian dive resort on April 23.
The Abu Sayyaf are also holding 12 Filipino Christian evangelists who were seized in early July when they visited the rebels' camp to pray for the other hostages.
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