ZAMBOANGA CITY – An elderly German national, who was kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf in November off Tawi-Tawi, a province in the troubled Muslim autonomous region in the Philippines, had been killed and the notorious ISIS-affiliate group even posted a video clip of the execution.
The SITE Intelligence Group – which monitored the Abu Sayyaf activities – reposted on Monday the grisly murder of the 70-year old Jurgen Kantner, who was believed executed on February 26 – the deadline set by his captors for his family to pay the P30 million ransom demand.
In another report by Al Jazeera, the television network said the video showed an elderly captive slumped on a grassy lot and a man holding a knife to his neck. “Now they’ll kill me,” Kantner said before he was brutally killed.
Kantner’s wife, Sabine Merz, 56, was also killed by rebels during the kidnapping. The woman’s naked was found by soldiers on the boat. A shotgun was also recovered near her body, according to the Western Mindanao Command.
The military tagged Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Muamar Askali as behind the kidnapping. Askali originally demanded P500 million ransom for Kantner’s safe release, but lowered this to P30 million, however, Manila also rejected the demand although it said it would not stop the German’s family to pay the ransom.
The Abu Sayyaf demand was contained in a video released on February 14 on Telegram Messenger where it showed Kantner pleading to his government to save his life. The military has not release any statement following reports of Kantner’s execution.
In April 2014, Askali’s group also kidnapped two German yachters – Stefan Viktor Okonek, 71, and Henrike Diesen, 55, while heading to Sabah from a holiday in the Philippines and demanded P250 million in ransoms in exchange for their lives.
Askali originally demanded from Germany – on top of the ransoms – to cease all support to U.S. coalition campaign against Islamic State which is fighting for a caliphate in Syria and Iraq. The duo was freed six months later after the German government paid the ransoms delivered by Filipino security officials. The Abu Sayyaf is still holding about two dozen Malaysian, Indonesian and Vietnamese sailors kidnapped since last year in Sabah and Basilan province.
The Abu Sayyaf group, formed by Ustadz Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani in 1992 in Basilan, continues to recruit members to fight the government in their attempt to set up a strict Islamic caliphate in Mindanao. Janjalani was killed in a gun battle with the police in Basilan in 1998.
Since then, the group now has hundreds of members in the Muslim autonomous region and the military had miserably failed to stop the growing influence and violent campaigns of the rebel group because it did not sustain the combat operations needed to wipe out the Abu Sayyaf in the restive region. (Mindanao Examiner)
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