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20.06.2014 15:03 News >> Abu Sayyaf Beheads Wounded Hostage Fleeing Gov't Troops

Abu Sayyaf Beheads Wounded Hostage Fleeing Gov't Troops

Hostage's wife holds event hoping to raise funds towards US$159,000 ransom, only to learn he's already dead.

For 16 days they prayed for his release - a father, a husband, a plumber abducted by Abu Sayyaf gunmen in the Philippines - but their prayers were not to be rewarded.

On Friday, Remegio Lingayan's headless body was retrieved from the jungles of Sulu - the latest victim of a violent al-Qaeda affiliated kidnap-for-ransom gang that has been fighting government troops for an independent Islamic province in the country's south for 25 years.

A military report disclosed that Lingayan, abducted with brother-in-law Joselito Gonzales on June 4, was hit by bullets when pursuing Marines and police troops tried to rescue him during a fierce gunbattle in Indanan township in the Abu Sayyaf island stronghold of Sulu.  

The report said 10 members of the Abu Sayyaf had died, while seven Marines were killed and 24 wounded in the ensuing bloody firefight. 

Quoting troops on the ground, it added that the Abu Sayyaf could not provide medication to Lingayan "so they decided to behead him."   

With troops in pursuit, the group warned in a statement Friday that they would also behead Gonzales if government troops did not give up the chase.

Lingayan and Gonzales, both residents of Zamboanga City - a Christian enclave in the Philippines Muslim South - were working on a construction project in Sulu when they were seized by gunmen.   

Lingayan's captors later demanded P7 million (US$159,000) ransom for his freedom.   

Prior to the beheading, his neighbors had initiated a fund raising activity to help raise money towards his release. 

Late Thursday, Lingayan's wife proudly showed the Anadolu Agency an empty plastic bottle almost full with small peso bills and coins donated by friends and neighbors, hoping that the collection would go towards securing his freedom.   

The Abu Sayyaf engages in kidnappings for ransom, bombings, assassinations and extortion.

It has been linked to al-Qaeda and is the most violent of the religious separatist groups operating in the southern Philippines, and claims to promote an independent Islamic state in western Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago.

It is currently holding other foreign hostages in its Sulu jungle base, including two European bird watchers abducted two years ago on the nearby island of Tawi-Tawi.

www.aa.com.tr/en - Ankara



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