Manila (dpa) – A 70-year-old South Korean man was found dead in the southern Philippines, nine months after he was abducted by suspected Islamist militants in the area, a military commander said Sunday.
Nwi Seong Hong apparently died “due to severe illness” after being abducted in January from nearby Zamboanga Sibugay province, Brigadier General Alan Arrojado said.
His body was found near a school compound in Patikul town on Jolo Island, 1,000 kilometres south of Manila, on Saturday.
Arrojado, commander of an anti-terrorism task force in Sulu province, which covers Jolo, said Nwi likely fell ill while held captive by Abu Sayyaf rebels in the mountains of Indanan town.
“The medical examination revealed he did not have gunshot or hack wounds,” he said. “Intelligence operatives also reported that the captors bought medicine for the hostage last week.”
The al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf has been held responsible for some of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the Philippines as well high-profile kidnappings for ransom involving foreign hostages.
The militants are believed to be holding several other hostages, including a Dutch man, two Malaysians, an Italian priest kidnapped last month, and two Canadians and a Norwegian abducted in September.