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Militants behead hostage in Philippines

world Updated: May 18, 2009 11:33 IST
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Muslim militants beheaded a 61-year-old farmer they abducted in the southern Philippines last month, a military spokesman said on Monday.



The severed head of Doroteo Gonzales was found on Sunday in a remote village in Akbar town in Basilan province, 900 km south of Manila, Captain Neil Estrella said.



The head was identified by Gonzales' son on Monday, Estrella said.



"But we will still need to verify this identification through laboratory tests," he said. "We need to conduct further examination to confirm the identification."



Estrella said Gonzales was abducted by Muslim Abu Sayyaf rebels in mid-April in a remote village in nearby Zamboanga City. The hostage was then brought to Basilan.



He said Gonzales was believed to have been held by the same group of Abu Sayyaf guerrillas that was holding captive a Sri Lankan peace advocate, six school teachers and a lending firm employee.



The rebels have demanded various amounts of ransom for the hostages, but the Philippine government follows a no-ransom policy.



On the nearby island of Jolo, a separate group of Abu Sayyaf rebels had been holding captive an Italian Red Cross worker for the past four months.



Aside from kidnappings for ransom, the Abu Sayyaf rebels have been responsible for some of the worst terrorist attacks in the Philippines.

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