Philippines: Islamist militants blamed for beheadings

Manila, 12 June (AKI) - Islamist militants from the separatist Abu Sayyaf group have beheaded three civilians in the southern Philippines, the military officials said on Saturday. The three men were gathering wood near Maluso on the island of Basilan on Friday when they were abducted and executed by militants, Brigadier-General Eugene Clemen, a local marine commander, said.

"We received reports this morning the three lumberjacks had been beheaded," Clemen said.

The execution came less than two weeks after the group led Puruji Indama killed three people abducted in the nearby Sumisip town.

Troops had been sent to search for the men's bodies, Clemen said.

A Muslim insurgency in the south of the predominantly Catholic country is one of the problems facing the new government of president-elect Benigno Aquino III when he takes office later this month.

Abu Sayyaf is the smallest and most radical of the Islamic separatist groups in the southern Philippines and has been blamed for bombings, beheadings and kidnappings of Filipinos and foreigners.


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