AFP races to save Ger­man hostage

Manila Times - - NEWS - BY FERNAN MARASIGAN

THE Armed Forces of the Philip­pines (AFP)

“They [ji­hadists] gave a Fe­bru­ary 26 dead­line and we are do­ing our best ef­forts to res­cue the kid­nap vic­tim and we have enough forces to do that,” said Col. Ciril­ito Sobe­jana, com­man­der of the AFP Joint Task Force Sulu.

But the job, Sobe­jana added, would not be easy as the mil­i­tary needs the sup­port of the com­mu­nity par­tic­u­larly in pin­point­ing the ex­act lo­ca­tion not only of Ger­man other hostages. hostages com­posed of Filipinos, Dutch and Ger­mans.

“So this is the chal­lenge ahead of us. [But] we will be do­ing re­lent­less ef­fort, we will pur­sue them and hope­fully we will be able to make it... I will make the full use of my avail­able man­power, troops, un­der my com­mand and of course, we are a joint force here, I have the Navy and Air Force com­po­nent, we will use all of them,” ac­cord­ing to Sobe­jano.

The task force, he said, has at least 14 bat­tal­ions.

“We are try­ing to strate­gize. With so many bat­tal­ions that I have, we want to cover all ar­eas of Sulu par­tic­u­larly where the ASG took their vic­tims,” he said.

Sobe­jano re­fused to di­vulge what par­tic­u­lar area the mil­i­tary is con- cen­trat­ing on or what ASG fac­tion is hold­ing the hostages.

In a two-minute video re­leased on Tues­day, Kant­ner tear­fully pleaded for his life as the ASG threat­ened to kill him if the de­manded P30-mil­lion ran­som is not paid.

Re­leased by the SITE In­tel­li­gence Group, the video showed Kant­ner sit­ting in front of four masked men, three of whom were bran­dish­ing be­hind the Ger­man hostage hold­ing a sickle.

The AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Ed­uardo Año, has or­dered to wipe out in six months, or by July 31, the ASG and other ter­ror­ist groups in south­ern Philip­pines.

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