ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) beheaded one of the eight Filipino hostages on Maundy Thursday, April 13, in the province of Sulu, the military reported on Sunday.
Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, Jr., commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, identified the executed hostage as Noel Besconde, the skipper of F/B Ramona.
Sobejana said the group of ASG sub-leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan executed Besconde by beheading on Thursday in the western part of Patikul town in Sulu.
Sobejana also said that Besconde was very sick “that apparently delays the movement of the ASG who are evading from our sustained focused military operations and rescue efforts, hence, he was executed.”
Sobejana added that Joint Task Force Sulu troops are currently in the area where the execution occurred to retrieve the remains of Besconde.
The Abu Sayyaf bandits hijacked F/B Ramona, which is owned by the Ramona Fishing Corporation, in December 2016 in the Celebes Sea that borders the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The bandits seized Besconde and four other crew of F/B Ramona. The other three are: Reyjim Rocabo, the boat mechanic, and, crewmen Roy Ramos and Roel Liones. They are all resident of Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur.
The bandits are still holding 27 hostages following the execution of Besconde. Most of the captives are Vietnamese sailors.
The ASG had been hijacking foreign commercial vessels and yachts in the seas bordering Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia in recent months. (SunStar Philippines)