Abu Sayyaf beheads Malaysian hostage

Bea Cupin

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Abu Sayyaf beheads Malaysian hostage
(2nd UPDATE) The Malaysian was kidnapped 6 months ago in Sabah

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) beheaded a Malaysian kidnap victim on Tuesday, November 17 in Indanan, Sulu intelligence sources told Rappler.

Reports reaching Rappler indicated that the male Malaysian hostage, whose identity we are withholding, was beheaded at around 4 pm Tuesday by Indanan-based ASG led by sub-leaders Alden Bagade and Idang Susukan. According to initial reports, his family did not comply with the ransom demand of the kidnappers. 

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Wednesday, November 18, confirmed that the Malaysian man was murdered, calling it a “savage and barbaric” act.

“I, the government, and all Malaysians are shocked and sickened by the murder of our countryman Bernard Then, and we condemn it in its strongest terms,” he said in a statement, calling for justice for those responsible.

He was kidnapped nearly 6 months ago from a restaurant in Sabah, Malaysia, alongside a Malaysian woman, Thien Nyuk Fun. The woman was released earlier this month.

According to reports reaching security officials in Manila, the victims remains were immediately buried in the vicinity of Barangay Tanan in Indanan. His head was reportedly thrown down a ravine in the same area. 

At around 8:30 pm the same day, a street sweeper reportedly found the kidnap victim’s severed head, placed inside a sack with a note bearing the man’s name, in Jolo, Sulu. 

In the past, the Abu Sayyaf released hostages only after hefty ransoms were paid.

They have also beheaded captives if their demands were not met. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.