PH military confirms custody of Malaysian hostage’s head

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PH military confirms custody of Malaysian hostage’s head
At the same time, the search for the rest of the victim’s remains continues in Sulu, military officials say

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Saturday, November 21, confirmed that it has in its custody the decapitated head of a Malaysian hostage in the Philippines.

At the same time, the search for the rest of the victim’s remains continues in Sulu, Western Mindanao Command outgoing commander Lieutenant General Rustico Guerrero said.

The Abu Sayyaf beheaded the male Malaysian hostage around 4 pm on Tuesday, November 17, Rappler sources said.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak identified the hostage as Berhard Then.

Najib on Saturday condemned the beheading of Then in the Philippines. 

“We are ever vigilant against a threat that is very real in our region. Local militants and groups such as Abu Sayyaf have sworn allegiance to the so-called Islamic State. It was they who cruelly murdered our countryman Bernard Then on Tuesday,” Najib said at the opening ceremony of the 27th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Malaysia. 

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

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. – Richard Falcatan, with reports from Agence France-Presse/

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