Abu Sayaff kid­naps Ger­man af­ter mur­der­ing wife

The Myanmar Times - - World -

IS­LAMIC mil­i­tants who spe­cialise in kid­nap­pings-for-ran­som have re­ported killing a Ger­man sailor and ab­duct­ing her el­derly male com­pan­ion from their yacht in wa­ters off the south­ern Philip­pines, the mil­i­tary said yes­ter­day.

A com­man­der from the Abu Sayyaf group, which has col­lected mil­lions of dol­lars by kid­nap­ping for­eign­ers and be­head­ing oth­ers af­ter ran­soms de­mands were not met, claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the lat­est in­ci­dent, re­gional mil­i­tary spokesper­son File­mon Tan said.

Mr Tan said the mil­i­tary had re­cov­ered the cou­ple’s yacht, and the body of a naked white woman who had been shot was aboard.

He said the mil­i­tary had lis­tened to an au­dio record­ing of a known Abu Sayyaf leader claim­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for the raid on the yacht, and the ab­ducted Ger­man man also spoke on the phone call.

The ab­ducted man iden­ti­fied him­self as Jur­gen Kant­ner, aged 70, and his com­pan­ion as Sabine, ac­cord­ing to Mr Tan.

The vic­tims were coin­ci­den­tally also ab­ducted by So­mali pi­rates off the Gulf of Aden and held hostage for 52 days in 2008.

AFP had in­ter­viewed Mr Kant­ner and his wife, Sabine Merz, in 2009 about their or­deal when they re­turned to So­ma­lia to re­trieve their boat, named the Rock­all.

De­spite be­ing sub­jected to a mock ex­e­cu­tion dur­ing his or­deal, Mr Kant­ner said the threat of kid­nap­ping would never stop him from sail­ing around the world.

“My boat is my life and I don’t want to lose her, noth­ing more. I don’t care about pi­rates and gov­ern­ments,” Mr Kant­ner had said in the 2009 in­ter­view from Ber­bera, the main port in So­ma­liland.

The Philip­pine mil­i­tary re­leased a photo yes­ter­day of the Rock­all and said it had a Ger­man flag on it.

Mr Tan said the pass­ports of Mr Kant­ner and Ms Merz were found on the Rock­all. He said the photo ap­peared to match the dead woman.

The Abu Sayyaf, a loose net­work of mil­i­tants based on re­mote is­lands in the south­ern Philip­pines, has de­fied more than a decade of US-backed mil­i­tary of­fen­sives against it and gone a lu­cra­tive kid­nap­ping spree in re­cent years.

In 2014, the mil­i­tants ab­ducted another Ger­man cou­ple off a yacht in the south­ern Philip­pines. They re­leased the pair six months later af­ter re­ceiv­ing what they said was the full ran­som de­mand of 250 mil­lion pe­sos (US$5.1 mil­lion).

This lat­est in­ci­dent came fol­low­ing a warn­ing by the US govern­ment last week that Is­lamic mil­i­tants were plan­ning to kidnap for­eign­ers in tourist hotspots in cen­tral Philip­pines, some 500 kilo­me­tres (300 miles) from the Abu Sayyaf’s bases. –

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