Philippine military officials say they're verifying reported beheading of Malaysian hostage

Two Philippine military officials say authorities are verifying reports that Abu Sayyaf militants have beheaded a Malaysian hostage in the southern Philippines after a large ransom demand was not paid.

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.

The officials said Then was abducted with a compatriot, Thien Nyuk Fun, in May in Malaysia's Sabah state and taken by boat to Sulu. Thien was freed earlier this month after a ransom was reportedly paid.