Image source: Manila Bulletin News
Germany has condemned the killing of one of its citizens yesterday, after news was released of Jurgen Kantner’s beheading in the Philippines following the lapsing of a deadline for demanded ransom.
German Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, is in Italy and said during a news conference with his Italian counterpart, that the perpetrators must not go unpunished.
The elderly German national, was held captive by Abu Sayyaf, a Philippine militant group believed to be linked to the Islamic State, and had appealed twice in short video messages, saying he would be killed if the ransom was not paid as demanded.
Jurgen Kantner and a female companion were taken captive last November while sailing a yacht in Malaysian waters. Kantner’s companion was shot dead when she tried to resist the militants.
While reports of the German’s execution surfaced on Sunday evening, Philippine military only confirmed the killing yesterday, and said it would continue to search for Kantner’s remains in order to hand them over to his family.
In recent years, Abu Sayyaf’s activities have been mainly banditry, but the Philippine Military believes Islamic State has been in contact with members of the group’s leadership with a view to gaining a foothold in Southeast Asia.
Abu Sayyaf, which means “bearer of the sword”, has capitalized on decades of instability in the Southern Philippines and generated tens of millions of Dollars from piracy and ransom payments which goes to financing high-powered boats and modern navigation equipment, allowing it to avoid detection at sea and seize crew of slow-moving vessels with ease.
Abu Sayyaf is currently holding 26 hostages, including 13 Vietnamese, seven Filipinos, a Dutch national, a Japanese, two Indonesians and two Malaysians, according to Philippine Military. Meanwhile, experts say the group is very unlikely to free any hostages without payment.