Dureza appeals for life of Abu Sayyaf’s German hostage
GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Peace Secretary Jesus Dureza on Thursday appealed to the Abu Sayyaf to spare the life of German hostage Jürgen Gustav Kantner.
However, he said the government will not talk ransom money with the bandits.
“We continue appeal to the captors to spare the life of the victim,” Dureza said by phone.
The Abu Sayyaf earlier released a video in which Kantner said he will be beheaded if a P30-million ransom is not paid by February 26.
The video was circulated by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist websites.
In the two-minute video, Kantner, wearing an orange shirt and sporting a beard, spoke in German as he addressed his family and the German government.
Back in 2008, the German government lent him a large amount of money so he could pay Somali pirates who seized him and his wife off the Gulf of Aden.
Kantner was abducted off Tawi-Tawi in November last year as he and his wife, Sabine Merz, were sailing there. Sabine was killed when she reportedly put up a fight. Her body was later found on the yacht with gunshot wounds.
Dureza said the Philippine government will do everything to get the foreigner alive, in accordance with its no ransom policy.
“The government still reiterates its very strong no ransom policy. So we are not going to talk with them about ransom,” he said.
But he added the government would not intervene if Kantner’s family or another party agreed to pay up.
“If someone from the family will pay the ransom for his freedom, we will not intervene because that’s personal and they wanted to get him alive,” Dureza said.
Dureza said part of the government efforts to secure Kantner and other hostages – still numbering 20 – were the continuing military operations in Sulu.
The Abu Sayyaf is notorious for beheading its victims whose families failed to pay ransom.
Among those the bandits had decapitated were Canadian hostages Robert Hall and John Ridsdel, who were taken from Samal Island in Davao del Norte. The two beheaded victims’ companions, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipino Maritess Flor, had been separately released after ransom was allegedly paid. /rga
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