By Priam F. Nepomuceno
MANILA, Feb. 28 (PNA) — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday said it has received information from official sources confirming that Juergen Kantner, the German hostage of the Abu Sayyaf Group, has been beheaded last Feb. 26 after his government refused to pay the bandits’ PHP30-million ransom demand.
“We have finally received information from reliable sources confirming that Mr. Juergen Gustav Kantner was mercilessly and inhumanly murdered by the evil KFR (kidnap-for-ransom) Abu Sayyaf Group,” AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said in a message to the PNA.
The bandit group earlier threatened to behead Kantner if their PHP30 million demand has not been paid before 3 p.m. of Feb. 26.
“Our operations in the past several days and nights using all our resources were unrelenting. We lost some of our best men in the process, because we value the life of Mr. Kantner and that of the others who have fallen prey to this terrorist group,” he added.
With Kantner’s execution, Arevalo vowed to further intensify efforts to hunt down the perpetrators.
“We express our heartfelt sympathies and condole sincerely with his family for their loss. The AFP condemns in the strongest terms this abominable act of ruthlessness, loathe, and greed of this evil terrorist group,” he added.
The AFP official said the military is committed to pursue the ongoing all-out offensive to neutralize the ASG.
“There will be no let up in our operations until we have rescued all the remaining kidnap victims. AFP units will continue to search for the remains of the Mr. Kantner to be handed to his bereaved family and to afford him decent burial he deserves,” he added.
Kantner was kidnapped by the ASG bandits while his yacht “Rockall” was cruising off Sulu waters last November.
His companion, 56-year-old Sabine Mertz, was shot and killed by the bandits and allegedly raped.
Germany condemns Abu Sayyaf on beheading its citizen
BERLIN, Feb. 28 (PNA/Xinhua) — The German government on Monday condemned the heinous act by the Philippine terror group Abu Sayyaf, which brutally killed a German citizen.
The Islamist extremists published a video showing the beheading process of the 70-year old man, Juergen Gustav Kantner.
Kantner was abducted in early November when he encountered the terrorist group. He was traveling with his partner Sabine Merz off Sabah in Malaysia. Merz was killed on the scene by the Islamist militants.
Abu Sayyaf had demanded a ransom of 30 million Philippine pesos (about 598,000 U.S. dollars) by Sunday. Both Philippine and German governments stuck to principle and did not give any money.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the act as “barbaric” and “abhorrent”, calling for a world united front against terrorism.
Government spokesman Steffen Seibert also expressed his shock, saying the incident once again showed unscrupulous and inhuman act.
The Philippine-based Abu Sayyaf group is believed to have links with the Islamic State militants in the Middle East.