Abus show beheading of German
The Abu Sayaff Group (ASG) has beheaded the German hostage it was holding for ransom, according to a video posted by the Islamic militants, which was monitored by the SITE Intelligence group on Monday.
The video, which showed German hostage Jurgen Gustav Kantner being killed by a knife-wielding man, appeared to confirm preliminary reports received by Philippine government officials.
Government envoy Jesus Dureza, who was negotiating for Kantner’s life, told Agence France-Presse he had heard of the video, adding that it confirmed earlier reports that Kantner had been killed.
“We grieve as we strongly condemn the barbaric beheading of yet another kidnap victim,” Dureza said in a statement.
But the military said it was still validating reports that Kantner, 70, was beheaded by the ASG in Indanan, Sulu, on Sunday for nonpayment of its P30-million ransom demand.
AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the video was not enough basis to confirm the beheading.
“No, I have not and I will not dignify the video by watching it,” he said.
The one-minute and 43-second video leaked from a chat group shows Kantner initially on the ground, wearing a black shirt and a pair of pants, his hands tied to his back.
A bandit then helps him get up while talking in a local dialect with his fellow bandits.
A man with a curved blade, similar to the ones used by sacadas, then emerges and suddenly grabs Kanter, who is heard saying, “Now he’ll kill me.”
Kantner is seen in the video struggling for his life as the unidentified bandit slashes his throat while chants of “Allahu Akbar” fill the background.
Military officials said Kantner’s body had not yet been found.
Kanter was abducted from his yacht, the Rockall, in waters off the southern Philippines last year.
The vessel was found drifting last Nov. 7, with the body of Kantner’s female companion, Sabine Merz, inside.
The couple had previously been kidnapped and held for 52 days in Somalia in 2008.
The unconfirmed reports of the beheading were first received by the AFP Western Mindanao Command and relayed to the AFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo after the Feb. 26 deadline set by the Abu Sayyaf for the ransom was not met.
Both Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and AFP Chief Gen. Eduardo Año said they could not confirm that a beheading took place without seeing Kantner’s body. —WITH REPORTS FROM CYNTHIA D. BALANA, ALLAN NAWAL AND JEOFFREY MAITEM, INQUIRER MINDANAO, THE WIRES
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