Sayyaf beheads teenage hostage PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 26 August 2016 11:52

By DAN TORIBIO JR.

A severed head believed to belong to an 18-year-old hostage of the Abu Sayyaf has been recovered in Jolo island, the military said.

Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., Western Mindanao Command spokesman, said in a statement that the head, believed to belong to Patrick James Almodovar who was kidnapped July 16, was wrapped in a plastic bag found around 7 p.m. in Barangay Kadjatan,  Indanan town — an Abu Sayyaf stronghold.

Almodovar’s body remains missing as of press time. The militant group executed Almodovar after his family failed to give their demand of P1 million ransom after the ultimatum passed Wednesday.

“The severed head was left by three alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group [ASG] aboard a motorcycle,” Tan said, adding that it was currently being processed and investigated by Scene of the Crime Operatives and Indanan Police.

He emphasizef that the “barbaric murder perpetrated by this terror group” was condemned by “every sensible and peace loving Filipino, including our Muslim brothers whom we work with in peace and development efforts”.

“The beheading of an innocent man done by the ASG is an absolute affront to the peace loving [Muslim] Moros in the Philippines,” Tan stressed.

The family of the 18-year-old Almodovar told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Wednesday night that they had received a call from the Abu Sayyaf informing them of the beheading.

Responding to reports of the beheading, President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated his directive to the military to “destroy” the group.

“My orders to the police and armed forces against enemies of the state: seek them out in their lairs and destroy them... The Abu Sayyaf, destroy them, period,” he told a press conference in Davao City,

Following Duterte’s order, the military will send more troops to two Basilan and Suluin to end the group’s reign of terror,  Tan said.

The current ceasefire with the communist rebels allowed the army to pull out troops from insurgency hotbeds and send them to the two troubled provinces.

Tan, said additional troops from northern and central Philippines and from battalions that are unengaged due to the ceasefire declared by the New People’s Army (NPA), Tan said.

Tan declined to say how many soldiers would be deployed but said the reinforcements will be “sizeable”.

He said the additional troops will prove very handy in searching jungles where the Daesh-linked group hides.

Currently there are 5,000 soldiers in Sulu and 2,500 in Basilan.

Early this month the Philippine Air Force Lockheed C-130 “Hercules” transport aircraft started to transfer soldiers to the two provinces.

In a separate statement, Capt. Rhyan Batchar, Public Affairs chief of the army’s Eastern Mindanao Command based in Davao City, said 500 soldiers from the 69th Infantry Battalion and another 500 from the 2nd Army Scout Ranger Battalion were pulled from NPA strongholds in Compostela Valley province for deployment in Basilan and Sulu.

The two batches of soldiers arrived in Zamboanga City Thursday on their way to the two Abu Sayyaf strongholds.

“All Infantry Divisions were required to send troops (to Sulu and Basilan) becausethe focus is now on the anti-terrorism efforts in the Westmincom, which has been listed as top priority of the Duterte administration,” Batchar said.

Inh is order to destroy the Abu Sayyaf, Duterte has vowed to be “10 times brutal” than the militant group and no negotiations would be made.

Earlier this year, the Abu Sayyaf beheaded two Canadian hostages after ransoms failed to be paid. It has threatened to decapitate a Norwegian captured with them in September if a P300-million ($6 million) ransom demand is not met.

Aside from a Norwegian hostage, the group is also holding a Dutch birdwatcher kidnapped nearly four years ago in Tawi-Tawi, three Malaysians and at least five Indonesian sailors as well as some Filipinos.