MANILA- The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) beheaded another one of its kidnap victims last Thursday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines confirmed on Sunday.
In a text message, Col. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, said Noel Besconde, crew of FB Ramona, was beheaded at the vicinity of Western Patikul, Sulu.
Sobejana said the ASG sub leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan did the beheading.
Besconde was abducted along with 3 others along the waters of the Celebes Sea last December.
Abu Sayyaf likely beheaded Besconde because he was sick and had become a liability, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said.
"Siya po ay naging sakitin na at nahirapan pong dalhin ang grupo kaya't dahil tinutugis sila, minarapat nilang wakasan ang buhay nito," Padilla in an interview with radio DZMM.
(He had become sickly and he was delaying their movement. They chose to behead him because we are pursuing them."
Padilla said the group had demanded 3 million pesos ransom for Besconde but the government maintains its policy of refusing to pay ransom.
Authorities have recovered video of Besconde's killing, but were still searching for his body.
The Army has declared all-out war with Abu Sayyaf on the islands of Jolo and Basilan, but is hamstrung by its presence among large civilian communities.
Abu Sayyaf has its roots in separatism but its activities are mostly banditry and piracy and it has invested the profits of its business in modern weapons and fast boats.
The terrorists are still holding Besconde's crew, along with more than a dozen foreign nationals in Jolo, Sobejana said.
The militant group last year beheaded Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall. An elderly German, Jurgen Kantner, suffered the same fate in February when a $600,000 ransom demand was not paid.
The army said on Wednesday that an Abu Sayyaf leader who was directly involved in the kidnap and execution of the Canadian and German nationals was among those killed by Philippine troops in a clash on a resort island last week. -- With Reuters