21 hostages taken from the Malaysian island of Sipadan have been held in the jungles of Jolo in the Sulu Archipelago for more than two weeks by a Muslim separatist group, Abu Sayyaf. As the crisis dragged on the likelihood that the hostages would be rescued unharmed diminished. On the nearby island of Basilan, another hostage crisis continued, and on Mindanao, the Philippine military was in conflict with another Muslim separatist group in South Cotabato and Lanao del Sur. Travel to these regions should be avoided.