JOLO, Philippines (AP) -- The heads of two Jehovah's Witnesses kidnapped in a Muslim extremist group's stronghold were found dumped in a public market Thursday in the southern Philippines. Four other members of the Christian sect remained captives.
The military and local police had blamed the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group for the Tuesday abductions, saying the nephew of a local Abu Sayyaf leader was among the armed kidnappers. But they backtracked Thursday, blaming a group of bandits headed by the nephew.
The incident, which bore all the hallmarks of an Abu Sayyaf attack, has been a huge embarrassment for the military and the government of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who said just weeks ago that the Abu Sayyaf had been decimated and virtually defeated with the help of a six-month U.S. counterterrorism training exercise.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.