Police accompanied by militiamen search for bodies of hostages killed by Abu Sayyaf Muslim extremist gunmen in Lamitan town, located in southern Basilan island. ( Source: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - A Filipino couple have been beheaded by Abu Sayyaf terrorist group in a remote village on Basilan island in southern Philippines, a military official said on January 5.

According to Brig. Gen. Juvymax Uy, Joint Task Force Basilan (JTFB), the victims were residents of Isabela city. They were killed on January 4 afternoon on suspicion that they were feeding information to the military.

Their bodies were found in the village a few hours after they were killed, he said.

Formed in the 1990s, Abu Sayyaf group is notorious for carrying out kidnapping-for-ransom preying on both foreigners and Filipinos, and known for bombings and brutality, including beheadings.

Philippine authorities said the group is holding more than 20 hostages, half of them are foreigners. Most of the hostages are kept in the boondocks of Basilan and Sulu, both island provinces off the southern island of Mindanao.

Abu Sayyaf was believed to stand behind the attack of Marawi city on May 23, 2017, kicking more than 1,000 people and forcing President Rodrigo Duterte to impose martial law in Mindanao province. On October 17, the leader declared the military completely liberated the city.-VNA