Police said suspected Abu Sayyaf militants on Monday beheaded seven men who allegedly destroyed a rubber plantation owned by their leader in the southern Philippines.
The decapitated bodies of the victims were found in the town of Lantawan in Basilan province, 900 km south of Manila, on Sunday, said Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, a regional police director.
The men were abducted on July 20 after their homes were burned by the terrorists, who were led by two sub-commanders of Abu Sayyaf leader Furuji Indama, Sindac said.
Chief Inspector Tara Leah Cuyco, a regional police spokeswoman, said Indama ordered the attack because the seven who were local loggers were allegedly behind the destruction of his rubber plantation.
“Accordingly, Furuji directed his men to get those chainsaw owners because his rubber plantation was destroyed,” she said.
Abu Sayyaf is one of the most active militant groups in the southern Philippines, and is believed to be allied with the Islamic State terrorist organisation.
They are holding captive about 20 hostages, including 14 foreigners, in Basilan and nearby Jolo Island.
The terrorists beheaded two Vietnamese hostages earlier in the month, while another Vietnamese captive was killed during a clash between his captors and government troops on July 13.
One of the Abu Sayyaf’s leaders, Isnilon Hapilon, has been identified as the head of Islamic State-allied militants currently fighting government troops in besieged Marawi City, 800 km south of Manila.