A Philippine military official says troops have dug up what they believe is the body of Canadian hostage Robert Hall, who was beheaded by Abu Sayyaf extremists more than two weeks ago in the south after a ransom deadline lapsed.

Regional military spokesman Maj. Filemon Tan says villagers led the troops to a hinterland near Kamuntayan village in Sulu province's Talipao town where the militants buried Hall's body after killing him on June 13. Hall's head had been found outside a Roman Catholic cathedral.

Hall was kidnapped with fellow Canadian John Ridsdel, Norwegian Kjartan Sikkengstad and Filipino Marites Flor last year in a marina in the south and taken to Sulu. Ridsdel had also been beheaded, Sikkengstad remains in Abu Sayyaf custody and Flor has been freed.