militants in the southern Philippines beheaded two loggers
they had abducted just hours earlier, police said on Saturday.
Police on Basilan Island retrieved the headless
corpses of the two victims early today after they were
abducted by Abu Sayyaf gunmen while at work, said local police
Chief Antonio Mendoza.
It was the second report of killings of civilians by
the Abu Sayyaf on Basilan this month.
Abu Sayyaf was set up with seed money from al Qaeda in
the early 1990s and is suspected by the military of tactical
ties with Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian Islamist group
blamed for several attacks in Indonesia.
Brigadier-General Eugene Clemen, commander of the
Philippine Marine forces on Basilan, said the latest victims
were murdered last night, hours after they were taken.
"They had been warned not to venture in that area
because it was dangerous," Clemen said of the loggers, adding
they had no official permit to cut trees in the area.
Most of the Abu Sayyaf`s top leaders have been killed
or arrested in military operations backed by US Special Forces
troops providing training and intelligence, but the rebels
continue to pose a security threat.