The Philippine military said it is looking into intelligence reports that an Islamist militant group had beheaded a Malaysian businessman held captive since May on the southern island of Jolo.
Abu Sayyaf militants are believed to have killed their captive in the town of Indanan on Tuesday, Reuters quoted Brigadier-General Alan Arrojado, army commander on Jolo island, as saying.
“There were credible reports that Abu Sayyaf has carried out the execution,” Arrojado told reporters in Manila, adding that security forces had been sent to locate the body.
Jolo island is a stronghold of Abu Sayyaf, a group known for bomb attacks, kidnappings and beheadings. It frequently seeks ransom in return for freeing hostages.
Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said on Twitter he is waiting for confirmation on the beheading from his Philippine counterparts.
Malaysian authorities have previously identified the captive as Bernard Then Ted Fen.
He and a Malaysian woman were abducted in May from a Chinese seafood restaurant in a coastal town in the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah, on Borneo Island, and taken to Jolo.
Last week, Abu Sayyaf freed the woman after reports a ransom was paid for her release.
Arrojado said an earlier intelligence report indicated Abu Sayyaf planned to behead the man if a ransom was not paid.
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