Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Muslim Extremists Behead 2 Hostages

JOLO, Philippines -- Muslim extremists linked to al-Qaida beheaded two of six Jehovah's Witnesses they kidnapped in the southern Philippines and dumped their heads in a public market, authorities said Thursday.

Brigadier General Romeo Tolentino, army commander on the southern island of Jolo, said the heads of the two male hostages were found in bags with notes denouncing them as "infidels."

The two men and four women were abducted Tuesday outside of the town of Jolo in Patikul district, a stronghold of the murderous Abu Sayyaf group that survived a U.S.-backed military campaign to wipe it out.

The hostages had been selling Avon cosmetics, herbal teas and medical supplies on the predominantly Muslim island, police said. Some Philippine newspapers described them as also being "preachers" who had been spreading their religion in Patikul, considered extremely dangerous for Christians.