The kidnapping, if confirmed, would be the latest in a wave of sea-borne attacks perpetrated by Abu Sayyaf despite combined efforts of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia to shore up maritime security â€” and despite President Rodrigo Duterteâ€™s ramped-up military offensive against the group, according to the Associated Press.
During a phone call with the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Sunday, Muammar Askali, a spokesman for Abu Sayyaf, said that the group had captured the two tourists from a yacht. â€œUnfortunately, the other one died,â€ Askali said, referring to the woman. â€œShe tried to shoot us, so we shot her.â€
Askali reportedly allowed his captive, Juegen Kantner, to talk with Inquirer journalists, â€œPirates took our boat and they took us. We [asked] the [German] embassy to help us,â€ Kantner said.
Army spokesman Filemon Tan said on Sunday morning they found the body of a foreign woman in her 50s onboard an abandoned yacht flying the German flag.
The German couple’s yacht, the Rockall, was found off Laparan Island in southern Sulu Province, Mr Tan said.
According to police reports they were abducted close to Pegasus Reef, around 40 nautical miles away from Taganak Island in Tawi-Tawi.
According to Abu Sayyaf, the couple were cruising off Malaysia’s Sabah state when the militants intercepted them.