04/20/2007, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Jolo: Islamic militants decapitate seven hostages, deliver heads to army posts

Militants with the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic separatist Abu Sayyaf group kidnap seven civilians. After cutting their throats, they proceed to behead them. Army doubles effort to stop them.

Manila (AsiaNews) – The Filipino army, officially outraged by the decapitation of seven hostages by southern Philippines Islamic separatists whose heads were delivered to troops in southern Jolo Island, ordered its units on Friday to intensify efforts to wipe out the “barbaric” militants.

On Monday the hostages—six road project workers and a dried-fish factory worker—were kidnapped at gunpoint near the town of Parang (Mindanao) by Abu Sayyaf (swordsmith father) militants whose group is linked to al-Qaeda.

Major-General Ruben Rafael, commander of military forces on Jolo, said the victims had their throats cut first and then were decapitated. Local civilians were forced to “deliver” the heads to local army posts.

The company that employed the road workers had refused to pay a ransom.

The United States whose troops are involved in counter-terrorism operations, are prepared to pay a US$ 15,000 rewards for information leading to the arrest of the culprits.

'This is a terrorist act that should be condemned by all,” General Rafael said.

The Philippines army commander, General Romeo Tolentino, ordered his units on Jolo “'to double their efforts and intensify military operations to destroy the barbaric Abu Sayyaf to prevent them from further harming the hardworking, peace-loving and innocent civilians of Sulu” province.

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