ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Abu Sayyaf bandits beheaded a Filipino sailor on Maundy Thursday in Sulu province, the military confirmed on Sunday.
Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana Jr, commander of Joint Task Force Sulu, identified the victim as Noel Besconde, the captain of F/B Ramona who was abducted along with three others in the Celebes Sea last December.Besconde was reportedly sick, prompting the bandits to behead him because he was delaying their movement, Sobejana said.
The other crewmen who were kidnapped along with Besconde were Reyjim Rocabo, Roy Ramos and Roel Liones, all residents of Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur.
F/B Ramona is owned by Ramona Fishing Corporation.
Sobejana said they have initial information that Besconde was beheaded at around 2:30 p.m. last April 13, but did not reveal it until they have a confirmation of the incident.
He added that they are scouring the western side of Patikul town for Besconde’s remains so that his family can give him a decent burial.
Initially, the Abu Sayyaf contacted Besconde’s family and demanded a PHP3 million ransom for his release.
But this did not materialize as the victim’s family lacks the means to pay the bandits besides the government’s no-ransom policy, Sobejana added.
Two Canadians have been beheaded last year after its government allegedly failed to meet the Abu Sayyaf’s ransom demand. Last month, a German national was also executed apparently for the same reason.
The Abu Sayyaf bandits, numbering to about 300 to 400 members, have been hijacking foreign and domestic commercial vessels and yachts in the seas bordering the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia in recent months.
The bandits are still holding 27 hostages following the execution of Besconde. Most of the captives are Vietnamese sailors. Darwin Wally Wee and Priam Nepomuceno/PNA-northboundasia.com