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Malaysian hostage beheaded by Abu Sayyaf

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Islamist militants in the Philippines yesterday beheaded a Malaysian hostage they had seized in May from a resort in Sabah.

Brigadier-General Alan Arrojado, commander of the Joint Task Group Sulu, said Mr Bernard Then, 39, an engineer, was beheaded around 4pm at a remote Abu Sayyaf stronghold on Jolo island in Sulu province, some 1,400km south of Manila.

This came more than a week after the Abu Sayyaf released Ms Thien Nyuk Fun, 50, manager of the Ocean King Seafood Restaurant in Sandakan town, Sabah, reportedly after receiving some 30 million pesos (S$900,000) in ransom.

Mr Then and Ms Thien were taken from the same resort.

Mr Then was reportedly suffering from leg injuries he sustained while in captivity, and was reportedly slowing down his captors.

The Abu Sayyaf had threatened to behead him just after releasing Ms Thien, The Straits Times reported.

The beheading came just hours after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak landed in Manila for the two-day summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Police identified the leaders of the group behind the Sandakan abduction as Alhabsy Misaya, Alden Bagade and Angah Adji, the report said.

Mr Then's family were informed of his death on Tuesday and hope that his remains will be returned to them, reported The Star

In a statement on Wednesday (Nov 18), his brother Christopher said in a statement: "We hope the governments of Malaysia and the Philippines will expedite the search and bring back his body."

"For the last 188 days we lived with hopes, yet hopelessness. With this dreaded news, we continue to pray for the repose of his soul. May he rest in peace.

"We ask that we be given the privacy to mourn his loss."

Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem condemned Mr Then's murder.

"It is tragic. These murderers in the Philippines must be brought to justice," he said, adding that the government would look into giving the family assistance.

Source: The Star, The Straits Times

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