23 Aug 2017 - 13:50
Abu Sayyaf beheads ex-Philippine soldier in Basilan
By Hader Glang
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines: Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf terrorists have beheaded a retired Philippine army soldier who was abducted Monday in the southern island province of Basilan, a military official said Wednesday.
Col. Juvymax Uy, commander of Joint Task Force Basilan, said in a statement the body and severed head of retired master sergeant Julio Macaraig Pasawa were found early Tuesday in his burnt house in Upper Mahayahay, Maluso town.
Pasawa, 63, a Muslim convert who hailed from Pangasinan in the western part of the island of Luzon but chose to live in Maluso, Basilan, was seized before the terrorists attacked Barangay Tubigan, also in Maluso.
Last Tuesday morning's attack left at least nine people dead and 11 others injured.
An undetermined number of fully armed bandits swooped down on the village and fired their guns and burned some houses and a multipurpose hall, according to the military's Western Mindanao Command.
The military on Wednesday issued a statement warning the public in Mindanao against being complacent with their security in light of the latest attacks by Abu Sayyaf and Maute terrorists in Basilan and Lanao del Sir.
Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla Jr. appealed for vigilance as terrorist attacks can happen anytime.
He cited the latest attack in Maluso, Basilan which only shows that the terrorists will always find a way to launch attacks to create havoc in the communities.
"But we can prevent any possible attempt of the groups (Abu Sayyaf and Maute) as long as every member of the community is watchful, alert and observant of their respective surroundings."
He also called on local government units to work closely with security agencies and to deploy watchers and quick action teams in close coordination with the villages.
The military's warning of terrorist threats also comes after the Tuesday incident in Marantao town near the border of Marawi City where suspected Maute terrorists attacked a municipal hall.
A Maute member was killed and four soldiers were wounded, according to Col. Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of Task Group Ranao in Lanao del Sur.
Security forces recovered high-powered firearms, ammunition and thousands of pesos.
Brawner told reporters they suspect the money is being used to recruit fighters.
The military said this is the second time the IS-linked group launched an attack outside Marawi in a span of four days.
Last August 19, a pro-government militiamen detachment in Lumbatan, also in Lanao, was also attacked by armed men.
On August 21, another encounter happened on Lanao Lake.