ZAMBOANGA CITY: Seven loggers including two pro-government militias, abducted by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) last week were found dead in the restive province of Basilan.
Police said the victims were beheaded. Their decomposing bodies were discovered in separate areas in Lantawan town where the bandits seized them. The victims’ families had identified and claimed the cadavers.
Two of those beheaded were government militias Roberto Lacastesantos and Renato Casiple while the others were identified as loggers Mamerto Falcasantos, Rene Sanson, Hernando Sally, Nestor Divinagracia and Ely Divinagracia.
Their families demanded justice for the brutal murders.
The military and provincial government did not issue any statement, but security and government officials previously announced the surrender of dozens of Abu Sayyaf fighters in Basilan since last year and claimed the militants were on the run with the relentless operation against them.
Those who surrendered were also provided financial aid and livelihood while others allegedly helped the military in the operations against the ASG blamed by authorities for the spate of killings and ransom kidnappings in Basilan.
The Abu Sayyaf, blamed for the worst terror attacks in the nation’s history, is known to behead its hostages unless ransom payments are made.
The militants beheaded two Canadian hostages last year and a German captive in February after ransom demands were not met.
Abu Sayyaf militants are holding more than 20 hostages, including several foreigners, in Basilan and another of their bases on the southern island of Sulu, according to the military.