Abu Sayyaf bandits have beheaded a Filipino fishing boat captain abducted in December in the Celebes Sea, a ranking military official said Sunday.
Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, head of Joint Task Force Sulu, said the military has confirmed that Noel Besconde, captain of FB Ramona 2, had been beheaded by the bandits.
“Actually, we monitored that on April 13 but we did not confirm it immediately until such time that we got hold of the video (showing the beheading) and we were also looking for (the cadaver) in the Patikul area,” Sobejana said.
Sobejana said they were able to confirm Besconde’s death after getting hold of the video showing his beheading and after getting more details from military sources on the ground.
He said the group of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan beheaded Besconde at around 2:30 p.m. on April 13.
“Now, we are looking hard for his cadaver so that we could return him to his family and he could be given a decent burial,” Sobejana said.
The FB Ramona 2 was found empty with its VHF Radio and GPS equipment missing on the morning of Dec. 19 in the Celebes Sea, particularly the boundary of the Philippines, Malaysia and the Indonesia.
Besconde and this three crewmen, residents of Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur, were also missing.
There are no reports yet as to the fate of Besconde’s companions — Reyjim Rocabo, a marine diesel mechanic, and crew members Roy Ramos and Roel Liones.
Sobejana said the bandits might have beheaded the captain because he was already “sickly.”
“Considering that they are on the move, this delayed their movement,” he said.
Sobejana also said that the bandits had called the victim’s family but they could not raise the ransom money of P3 million.
“But the reason for the beheading was that he was delaying their movement. Based on the video, the beheading was done hastily. There was no ritual unlike (in previous beheadings),” he said. JE
Tags: Abu Sayyaf, AFP, all-Muslim units, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Basilan, beheaded, beheading, bombing, Duterte, extortion, Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf, Jolo, kidnapping, Noel Besconde, Philippine Armed Forces, Philippine Army