MANILA: A senior Philippine military official claims Malaysian hostage Bernard Then was beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf terror group because its ransom demands were not met.
Joint Task Group Sulu Brig Gen Alan Arrojado said that the Indanan-based Abu Sayyaf, led by sub-leaders Alden Bagade and Indang Susukan carried out the beheading.
He said negotiations had broken down, which prompted the group to behead the victim in Taran, Indanan at about 4pm.
However, sources in Jolo said that after the full of ransom was paid for both Then and Sabahan Thien Nyuk Fun on Nov 8, the Abu Sayyaf raised the amount.
The sources said they wanted much more than what agreed upon initially which led to only Thien been released.
Arrojado, quoting military intelligence sources, said Then was decapitated and buried immediately.
A few hours before the beheading, the military launched air strikes on Abu Sayyaf territory.
"It appears that the beheading pushed through almost simultaneously with the bombardment and rocket fire," he said.
Arrojado said he had ordered Marine and Scout Ranger units to do pursuit operations and locate the victim's body.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar tweeted Tuesday night that the police have been unable to confirm Then's fate at the moment.
Malaysian hostage Bernard Then beheaded