He said villagers on Jolo island had already indentified the body as that of the rebel leader.
 
Kidnappings
 
Sulaiman, also known as Jainal Antel Sali Jr., is among five leaders of the Abu Sayyaf wanted by the United States for the kidnapping of three of its citizens and 17 Filipino tourists from the Dos Palmas resort on Palawan island in May 2001.
 
Sulaiman is also believed to have been involved in the worst terror attack in the Philippines, the bombing of a passenger ferry off Manila Bay in 2004 that killed at least 200 people.
 
Abu Sayyaf has been linked to the militant Jemaah Islamiah group, which is fighting for a pan-Asian Islamic state and has been blamed for several high-profile terrorist attacks, including the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings.
 
Two Indonesians suspected of carrying out the 2002 Bali attacks are suspected to be also in hiding out in Abu Sayyaf camps on Jolo, Philippine officials say.
 
At least 7,000 Philippine soldiers assissted by US military advisers are in the area hunting members of the Abu Sayyaf.
 
A major offensive against the group was launched last August and officials say 80 of the 400 or so Abu Sayyaf fighters thought to be based on Jolo have since been killed.
 
According to the military one of those killed may be Khaddafy Janjalani, believed to be the head of the Abu Sayyaf.
 
Tissue from what is thought to have been his decomposing body was sent for forensic tests in December, although results have yet to be released.