ZAMBOANGA CITY: The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) has beheaded a Filipino hostage in Sulu.
Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana Jr. commander of Joint Task Force Sulu, identified the victim as Noel Besconde, the captain of F/B Ramona who was abducted along with three others in the Celebes Sea in December last year.
Besconde was reportedly sick, prompting the bandits to behead him because he was delaying their movement, Sobejana said.
Sobejana said that troops “are currently in the area where the incident transpired” to retrieve the remains of the executed hostage.
The other crewmen who were kidnapped along with Besconde were Reyjim Rocabo, Roy Ramos and Roel Liones, all residents of Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur.Other reports said the hostage was beheaded to avenge the recent killing of Abu Sayyaf leader Muamar Askali alias Abu Rami who died in a clash with security forces in Bohol province.
Besconde was among a group of four fishermen kidnapped in December last year off Sulu archipelago.
The Abu Sayyaf, which is still holding about two dozen Asian sailors kidnapped off Basilan and Tawi-Tawi provinces in the Muslim autonomous region, has not released a statement on the execution of Besconde.
Besconde was reportedly beheaded by the group of ASG sub-leader Almujer Yadah in Patikul, Sulu.
A senior Abu Sayyaf leader, Radulan Sahiron, was also reported to have sent surrender feelers to the military and is willing to help authorities capture or convince other commanders to surrender in exchange for amnesty. He allegedly wanted a cut in the bounties offered by government for other Abu Sayyaf leaders.
Sahiron is wanted by the Philippines and the United States on terrorism charges. The US has offered up to $1 million bounty for Sahiron’s capture.
“Many innocent men, women and children have died or have been seriously injured as a result of Sahiron’s actions. Sahiron played a role in the May 2001 Dos Palmas kidnapping of three US citizens, including Martin and Gracia Burnham, and 17 Filipinos from a tourist resort in Palawan, Philippines. Several of the hostages, including U.S. citizen Guillermo Sobero, were murdered,” according to information posted by the US Reward for Justice.
“Sahiron is believed to be hiding in southern Mindanao where he continues to plot terror schemes that impact many communities. Because of his leadership position within the ASG, whose terrorist attacks have resulted in the deaths of US and Filipino citizens, US authorities consider Sahiron to be a threat to US and Filipino citizens and interests,” it added.