Philippines: Muslim missionary killed for tip-off

A Muslim missionary who tipped off authorities about the activities and whereabouts of al-Qaida-linked operatives on a southern Philippine island has been found dead and his body mutilated, a military official said Thursday. The remains, chopped into pieces and put inside a sack, were found Wednesday in the village of Balagtasan in Lamitan township on Basilan island, more than a week after 14 marines were killed and 10 of them beheaded in an ambush blamed on Muslim rebels. Marine Col. Ramiro Alivio, the island's military chief, said the slain missionary, who was not identified, had provided information to the military about Abu Sayyaf operatives and other "lawless elements" on Basilan. "We condemn the killing and authorities are now hunting the culprits behind the gruesome murder," he said.