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Abu Sayyaf bandits behead Basilan couple

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By Xinhua

The terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) beheaded a married couple in a remote village on Basilan island, a military official confirmed on Friday.

Brig. Gen. Juvymax Uy, Joint Task Force Basilan (JTFB), identified the victims as Abdurahim Kituh and his wife Nadzwa Bahitla, both residents of Isabela City.

The couple was killed Thursday afternoon in a village on Basilan island on suspicion that they are feeding information to the military.

Uy said the bodies of the two were found in the village a few hours after they were killed.

Basilan, a province in southern Philippines, is a stronghold by the Abu Sayyaf militants with alleged links to the Islamic State (IS) extremist groups.

Formed in the 1990s, the Abu Sayyaf group is notorious for carrying out kidnapping-for-ransom preying on both foreigners and Filipinos, and known for bombings and brutality, including beheadings.

Several foreign kidnapping victims were beheaded last year after failing to pay millions of dollars of ransom, including Vietnamese, German and Canadian hostages.

Philippine authorities said the terrorist group is holding more than 20 hostages, including more than a dozen foreigners. Most of the hostages are kept in the boondocks of Basilan and Sulu, both island provinces off the southern island of Mindanao.

The Abu Sayyaf group helped plot the siege of Marawi City last May, triggering a five-month fighting that left more than 1,200 dead. The battle also ruined the city, displacing thousands of residents.

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