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REBELS KIDNAP U.S. VOLUNTEER IN PHILIPPINES

SHARE REBELS KIDNAP U.S. VOLUNTEER IN PHILIPPINES

Communist rebels kidnapped an American Peace Corps volunteer and are holding him on the central island of Negros, the U.S. Embassy said Sunday.

Embassy spokesman Stanley Schrager said the male volunteer, whose name was withheld, was apparently abducted June 13.He said the embassy learned of the kidnapping after it was unable to contact the volunteer when the United States decided to recall the 261 Peace Corps volunteers.

The withdrawal of the volunteers was ordered because of fears the rebels would try to kill or kidnap Peace Corps staffers.

Schrager said the embassy confirmed the kidnapping Saturday and rushed diplomats to the Negros city of Bacolod.

Previously, U.S. officials had said all 261 volunteers were safe.

Negros, about 300 miles southeast of Manila, is a stronghold of the rebel New Peoples Army, which is waging a 21-year insurgency to establish a Marxist state.

On May 29, rebels on Negros kidnapped a Japanese aid worker, Fumio Mizuno, and are believed holding him in remote mountains near Bacolod.

The Peace Corps volunteers began leaving the country on Friday, and U.S. officials had said the rest would leave on commercial flights over the next few days.

The volunteers were withdrawn because intelligence reports indicated the Communist New People's Army planned to kill or kidnap them. U.S. officials declined to elaborate on the alleged threat to Peace Corps members.

Communist rebels are believed to have killed eight Americans since April 1989, but they had made no public threat against the Peace Corps.