By: Aaron Recuenco
Suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits beheaded seven local loggers, whose bodies were recovered in two separate towns of Basilan.
Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, director of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) regional police, said two of the cadavers were already decomposing when discovered by personnel of the Maluso Police Station on Sunday in Barangay Switch Yakal in Lantawan town.
They belong to 50-year old Nestor Venegracia and his 25-year old son Ily, residents of Barangay Lower Mahayahay in Maluso town.
Sindac said the two were kidnapped on July 20 by unidentified gunmen a few minutes after their house were burned.
Their motorcycle was also burned.
Two of the suspects, according to Sindac, were identified as Pasil Bayali and Otho Dobol.
As the gunmen were dragging the two victims towards the mountainous area of Lanatawan, they took five other victims who also turned out to be local loggers.
The cadavers of the five more victims were discovered near the area where the headless bodies of the Venegracias were found at around 4 p.m. also on Sunday.
The five other victims were identified as Berto Lacastesantos, 48; Hernando Sally, 53; Renato Casiple, Jr., 36; Rene Samson, 28; and, Mamerto Falcasantos, 55.
All seven cadavers were identified by their relatives.
Chief Insp. Tara Leah Cuyco, ARMM regional police information officer, said the follow-up investigation disclosed that the kidnapping of the seven loggers and their beheadings were carried out by the Abu Sayyaf.