Abu Sayyaf beheads Filipino hostage in Sulu

Gualberto Laput

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Abu Sayyaf beheads Filipino hostage in Sulu
(UPDATED) The victim, Rodolfo Buligao, was the barangay captain of Aliguay Island in Dapitan City, according to the military

DAPITAN CITY, Philippines – (UPDATED) On Sunday, August 9, the family of alleged Abu Sayyaf hostage victim Rodolfo Buligao was celebrating because they were told by his abductors that he was going to be released soon.

Two days later, on August 11, the military found a beheaded body of a man believed to be Buligao. It was spotted along an intersection in Barangay Laum Maimbung in Sulu’s Maimbung town.

Barangay chairman Edzar Tan reported it to the military, which later recovered the body and brought it to the Sulu Provincial Hospital in Jolo.

A written note was found on top of the body: “Rodolfo E. Buligao, a Brgy Chairman of Barangay Aliguay Island, Dapitan City, ZDN.” The military also recognized Rodolfo’s body from the photo on their file.

With Coast Guard

Buligao, 62, was abducted in May along with two Coast Guard personnel in Aliguay Island in Dapitan City.

There was no report on the two Coast Guard personnel – Gringo Villaluz and Rod Pagaling. A P1-million ransom was reportedly demanded for each of the 3 kidnap victims.

The military identified their captors as Abu Sayyaf members led by sub-commander Yasser Igasan, Anggah Adji, Jul Aksan and Alden Bagade.

The beheaded body will be transported on Wednesday to Zamboanga City, where his children are expected to identify him.

Talks between the captors and the negotiatior allegedly collapsed when the latter was unable to meet the ransom demand. 

PO3 Arthur Obnimaga, brother-in-law of Buligao, told Rappler that the victim’s eldest daughter, Ruby, went to Zamboanga City on August 9 after receiving a message from the abductors that her father would be released.

“Miingon pa man gani to siya nga magsadya kay buhian na iyang papa (She even said that they are celebrating because her father will be released),” Obnibaga said.

But Obnibaga said they were surprised Wednesday morning when they received reports that a body was found in Maimbung, Sulu.

Initial target

Ruby’s brother Justin proceeded to Zamboanga City to accompany his sister in identifying the body.

Police sources said that the initial target of the abductors in two high-speed pumpboats were rich Chinese businessmen in Dipolog City, but they proceeded to Aliguay – an island resort developed by Dakak Park and Beach Resort in Dapitan – after police learned about their presence.

The abductors took Buligao and the two Coast Guard personnel after knowing that there was no foreign tourist in the island at the time, police sources added.

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Mujiv Hataman  condemned the incident. 

“We condemn this heartless and inhuman brutality committed by Abu Sayyaf, a group whose only desire is to sow terror among our people. This is nothing but an evil and cowardly act of terrorism,” Hataman said.

He condoled with the family of Buligao and assured them that authorities would track down the killers. 

“The perpetrators must be hunted down and be brought to justice and these attacks must be stopped immediately,” Hataman said. – with reports from Carmela Fonbuena and Karlos Manlupig/Rappler.com

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