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Military confirms ASG beheading of fishing boat captain

By David Santos, CNN Philippines Updated 17:56 PM PHT Sun, April 16, 2017

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 16) — Military confirmed Sunday the beheading of a hostage by terrorist group Abu Sayyaf.

Joint Task Force Sulu Commander Brig. Gen. Cirilio Sobejana said a group led by Abu Sayyaf sub leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan beheaded the boat captain of fishing boat FB Ramona.

The victim, Noel Besconde, was one of the four crew members who were abducted by the Abu Sayyaf in Celebes Sea at 2:30 a.m. on December 6.

Sobejana said Besconde was beheaded on April 13 at 2:30 p.m., but they have just confirmed it after watching a video.

"N'ung una hindi pa kami naniniwala kasi akala namin propaganda, kasi tuloy-tuloy din yung pagkalugad namin sa area, saka kung titingnan mo yung video, hindi rin sila, like during the previous beheadings nila na may rituals, walang ritual na nangyari katulad nung ginawa nila Kantner," Sobejana said.

[Translation: At first we didn't believe it because we thought it was propaganda, because we're constantly monitoring the area. And if you look at the video, it's unlike previous beheadings, because they had rituals prior to beheading like what they did to Kantner.]

German national Juergen Kantner was also beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf Group on February 26 after the ASG's deadline for his P30 million ransom lapsed.

Related: Military recovers body of slain Abu Sayyaf hostage

Sobejana said that the ASG asked for P3 million on behalf of Besconde, but they refused to comply because of the government's no-ransom policy.

Sobejana added that the boat captain was killed in the Western part of Patikul, after the 'sickly' Besconde was reported to have been slowing down Abu Sayyaf's movement.

Military personnel are still trying to recover Besconde's body.

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