HEADLESS BODIES OF SAYYAF HOSTAGES FOUND

Zamboanga City, April 18, 2003 -- Troops have recovered the headless 
remains of a kidnapped Indonesian sailor and a Filipino trader executed by 
the rebel group Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippine island of Jolo, 
officials said Thursday.

Soldiers have dug up a shallow grave on Tuesday in the jungle village of 
Panglayahan in Patikul town and recovered the remains, including a third 
body believed to be that of a rebel, said Southern Command deputy commander 
for operations Brig. Gen. Romeo Tolentino.

"We have recovered the remains of Indonesian captive Muntu Jacobos 
Winowatan and the Filipino man David Chua and also the body of a rebel, 
probably killed in a clash with troops," Tolentino told reporters.

He said the bodies were sent to the Southern Command military base in 
Zamboanga City for forensic examination. "The grave was discovered after an 
Indonesian hostage Peter Lerrich, who escaped from his Abu Sayyaf captors 
last week, told the military its location in the jungle," Tolentino said.

Lerrich told reporters after his daring escape that guerrillas have killed 
Winowatan, then suffering from diabetes. A second Indonesian hostage 
Julkifli also escaped from his captors in Jolo island last month, the 
military said.

Tolentino said security forces clashed Monday with the Abu Sayyaf in the 
village of Niyog Sangahan in Talipao town, that left five gunmen dead -- 
one of them the uncle of rebel leader Galib Andang.

He said Wadi Duwang Andang, a rebel commander, and four of his followers 
were killed in the fighting. The military identified two of the dead as 
Salip Mahadali Bali and Mahir Mahadali.

The Indonesians, who were all crew members of the cargo boat SM-88, were 
kidnapped in June last year off Jolo island while on their way to deliver 
coal to the central Philippine province of Cebu.

The Abu Sayyaf if still holding five female Filipino hostages, including a 
trader kidnapped in the island of Siasi off Jolo just last week. Four of 
the hostages are members of the evangelist group called the Jehova's 
Witnesses, who snatched in Patikul town in April 2002 while selling herbal 
medicines. Two preachers, both males, were beheaded by rebels last year and 
their heads displayed at a market near an military base in Jolo.

The Abu Sayyaf is one of two separatist rebel group fighting for 
independence in the southern Philippines, but lately have resorted to 
terrorism and banditry to finance their violent activities. Its leader 
Khadaffy Janjalani is believed to be hiding in Jolo after fleeing a massive 
military operation in Basilan island two years ago. Philippine authorities 
have linked the group to the al Qaeda network.  (Al Jacinto, PHNO 
MindanaoBureau)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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