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Filipino Sayyaf captive beheaded

The Armed Forces of the Philippines yesterday confirmed that the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group beheaded one of their hostages in Sulu on Maundy Thursday.

Army Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the AFP’s Joint Task Force Sulu, identified the beheaded kidnap victim as Noel Besconde, about 40- to 45-years-old.

Sobejana said Besconde was part of the crew of the fishing boat FB Remona who were abducted by the Abu Sayyaf in the Celebes Sea, in the tri-boundary of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippines, in December of last year.

Sobejana said that based on reports he received, the victim was beheaded by the group of Hatib Hadjan Sawadjaan in the western side of Patikul at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

“Yes, it is confirmed already. Actually, we already monitored the incident last April 13 but we did not confirm it immediately until such time that we got a video and we continue to search the western side of Patikul,” Sobejana said.

“At first we still don’t believe it because we thought its part of their propaganda. But we continued with our search for him,” Sobejana said.

Sobejana said that if one will look at the video, there was no ritual that took place in the beheading of the victim unlike in the previous decapitations.

“Unlike with the beheading of (Jurgen Gustav) Kantner in Indanan, Sulu, the beheading of the victim (Besconde) was done hastily,” Sobejana said.

Sobejana said now that they have confirmed the beheading, their current focus is to find and retrieve the remains of the victim so they can send it to his family and have a decent burial. (Francis T. Wakefield)