MANILA – The Philippine military has verified reports that the Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf has beheaded German National, Mr Jurgen Kantner, 70, in the Indanan area of southern Sulu province on Sunday afternoon.
A video released by the brutal Abu Sayyaf group on Monday (Feb 27) afternoon showed Mr Jurgen Kantner, 70, a sailing enthusiast, his hands tied behind his back, being beheaded at a jungle clearing, after a deadline for a $600,000 ransom passed.
He could be heard on video saying “Now he’ll kill me”, before a man began cutting his head off with a large knife.
Abu Sayyaf abducted Mr Kantner, last November when he was sailing with his wife Sabine Merz on a yacht in Malaysian waters. Ms Merz was shot and killed when she tried to resist the militants.
Kantner and Merz had been abducted and held for 52 days in 2008 by Somali pirates and were released after a ransom was paid.
Jesus Dureza, presidential adviser on the Philippine peace process, said officials had exhausted all efforts to save Kantner, who was held on the tiny southern island of Jolo, but to no avail. “We grieve as we strongly condemn the barbaric beheading of yet another kidnap victim,” Dureza said in a statement.
Last year, Abu Sayyaf beheaded two Canadians on Jolo but their two companions, a Filipino woman and a Norwegian, were freed.
The group has made tens of millions of dollars from ransom money since it was formed in the 1990s, security experts say, channeling it into guns, grenade launchers, high-powered boats and modern equipment.
Abu Sayyaf is believed to be holding 26 hostages – 13 Vietnamese, seven Filipinos, a Dutch national, a Japanese, two Indonesians and two Malaysians. They have freed several others in return for ransom payments.
Source: Reuters, Assoicated Press