Abu Sayyaf beheads Filipino hostage on Holy Thursday
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Abu Sayyaf Group beheaded a Filipino hostage on Holy Thursday, April 13.
Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Joint Task Force Sulu, identified the victim as Noel Besconde, one of 4 crew members of FB Ramona 2 abducted in the Celebes Sea in December 2016.
"He was executed in the vicinity of western Patikul, Sulu, last 13 April," Sobejana told Rappler on Easter Sunday, April 16.
The military has yet to recover his body, however.
Besconde and the 3 other crew members were taken by the group of Hatib Sawadjaan, one of Radullon Sahiron's sub-commanders.
The Abu Sayyaf reportedly asked for P3 million in ransom, but the government is imposing a no-ransom policy.
Sobejana said, however, that it appears Besconde was beheaded because he was "very sick" and "apparently delay[ed] the movement" of the group, which is evading military operations.
The military has deployed thousands of troops to fight the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu and nearby islands to meet a self-imposed deadline to significantly weaken the group by June 30. – Rappler.com