Malaysian Hostage Bernard Then Beheaded As PM Najib Lands In Manila. Here's What We Know

The remaining Malaysian hostage kidnapped from Sandakan in Sabah, Bernard Then Ted Fen, has been beheaded by Abu Sayyaf militants, media reports say.

Cover image via Seth Akmal/TMI

Headless body found in Sulu believed to be of Bernard Then

Image via The Star

A headless body, believed to be that of slain Malaysian hostage Bernard Then Ted Fen, has been found. The body, recovered late Monday on Jolo Island, has been sent to Zamboanga City for identification.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command spokesman Major Filemon Tan Jr said soldiers from the Philippines’ 501st Infantry Brigade recovered the body at Sitio Lungon-lungon at Parang on Jolo island at about 11pm. He said the body was found buried in a shallow grave on a hilly jungle and was in an advanced state of decomposition.

"The body will be subjected to DNA testing to determine if it matches the head recovered last month," Major Filemon Tan Jr, a spokesperson for the Western Mindanao Command, was quoted as saying.

Sabah police are checking with the authorities in the Philippines to confirm if the headless corpse found in southern Philippines was that of Malaysian Bernard Then Ted Fen, said Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman.

“We are checking.. waiting for confirmation,” said Jalaluddin in his short answer via Whatsapp here tonight when asked to comment on media reports today about the discovery of the headless body by the Philippines’ authorities.

Meanwhile, Bernard's family appeal to PM Najib to expedite process

The family of deceased Malaysian Bernard Then Ted Fen is appealing to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to help expedite the process of identifying and bringing home the remains.

"We were not informed by the authorities that they found the body," Then's brother Christopher Then Ted Loong told The Star on Tuesday night. "My family is very depressed and we appeal to our PM to help expedite the process of identifying and repatriating Bernard's remains to my family," added Christopher.

"It has been four weeks since Bernard was reportedly killed in southern Philippines. Every time there is news regarding this case, it opens up our wounds and it hurts so much. We cannot even begin the healing process without this closure," said Christopher.

Christopher said that his family had not paid any money for the release of Then's remains and were not involved in the recovery of the body.

Previously, severed head of Bernard Then was found in a sack

Image via The Star Online

The severed head of Malaysian hostage Bernard Then was found near a municipal council building in Jolo island on Tuesday, 17 November, evening, The Star Online reported citing Southern Philippines police officials.

According to The Star's report, Jolo police chief Major Junpikar Sitin said that a street sweeper found the "severed head" inside a sack with the words “Bernard Then Ted Fen” at Marina Street at Barangay Wall City in Jolo about 8.30pm Tuesday. He said they immediately cordoned the area off and subsequently took the head away for preservation at about 10.30pm.

“We have turned over the head to the military task force for preservation and DNA tests,” he said. Sitin said the military doctors at the brigade camp in Jolo were now preserving the head pending a DNA test with Then’s family.

However, he could not tell why the 39-year-old Sarawakian engineer, was executed while negotiations were going on for his release. "We are still investigating,’’ he added.

Meanwhile, Parliament today refused to observe a one-minute silence over Bernard's death

Acccording to a report in the Malaysiakini, the Dewan Rakyat expressed sympathy with the family of Bernard Then, However, the House, refused to observe a one-minute silence over Then's death.

Explaining the rationale behind this move, Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker Ronald Kiandee said, "It has become a tradition for the House to observe a moment of silence over the death of the state of head and lawmaker. However, I expressed sympathy to the family of late Bernard Then, who was reportedly killed in the southern Philippines," he said.

He was replying to Stephan Wong (DAP-Sandakan) who made the request when the House's sitting commenced this morning.
Image via TMI


Singapore's The Straits Times is reporting that Bernard Then Ted Fen, a Sarawakian engineer held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf Islamist terror group, was beheaded on Tuesday, 17 November

Chan Wai See, wife of Bernard Then Ted Fen, holding photograph of him.

Image via Seth Akmal/TMI

Bernard Then was beheaded just hours after Prime Minister Najib Razak landed in Manila for the two-day summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, according to Malaysiakini, which further reported that the beheading came just after a week after Abu Sayyaf released another Malaysian hostage, Thien Nyuk Fun (the woman in the photograph held by the man above), the Ocean King Seafood Restaurant manager who was kidnapped along with Bernard Then.

The Straits Times cited Brigadier-General Alan Arrojado, commander of the Joint Task Group Sulu, in its report saying that the militant group beheaded Bernard after the 39-year-old's family failed to comply with the Islamist group's ransom demands

According to Brigadier-General Alan Arrojado, Bernard was beheaded at around 4pm at a remote Abu Sayyaf stronghold in Jolo island, in Sulu province, some 1,400km south of the capital Manila. He said Bernard's family "failed to comply" with the militants' demand "during their negotiation that prompted them to execute their plan".

Meanwhile, The Star Online, based on its sources in Jolo, is reporting that after the full ransom was paid for both Bernard and Thien Nyuk Fun on 8 November, the Abu Sayyaf raised the amount. They wanted much more than what was agreed upon initially which led to only Thien been released, The Star Online reported.

Responding to the reports, IGP Khalid tweeted that the police have been unable to confirm Bernard's fate at the moment. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that two Philippine military officials say authorities are verifying reports about the beheading.

The officials said the militants killed Bernard Then Ted Fen on Tuesday in their jungle camp in Indanan town in Sulu, an impoverished province 950 kilometers (590 miles) south of Manila where Abu Sayyaf gunmen are believed to be holding other foreign and Filipino hostages. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with reporters.

Based on Brigadier-General Alan Arrojado's statement to ST, Bernard's remains were buried immediately after he was beheaded

Malaysian engineer Bernard Then.

Image via The Straits Times

Arrojado, quoting military intelligence sources, said Bernard was decapitated and buried immediately. "The body was immediately buried in the vicinity where they beheaded the victim," he said, adding that he had ordered Marine and Scout Ranger units to do pursuit operations and locate the victim's body.

According to The Straits Times report, Bernard had suffered leg injuries while in captivity and had been slowing down his captors

The Abu Sayyaf had threatened to behead him just after releasing Ms Thien who was freed on 8 November after spending almost 6 months in captivity.

The report added that police had identified the leaders of the group behind the kidnapping to be Alhabsy Misaya, Alden Bagade and Angah Adji.

While Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has denied that any ransom was paid, The Straits Times claimed Thien was freed in exchange for a 30 million pesos (RM7.85 million) ransom.

On 15 May, militants from the southern Philippines launched a daring incursion into Sabah. Four men armed with automatic rifles grabbed Thien and Bernard from the restaurant at around 7.40pm before fleeing back into Philippine waters on two boats.

Meanwhile, in their latest plot to expand their movement, three Malaysian terrorists of ISIS have revealed their wishes to start an Islamic State in Southeast Asia. Read our full coverage on it here:

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