World Bulletin / News Desk
A ISIL-linked terrorist group has released a video of a German hostage threatened with beheading if Germany refuses to pay a $10 million ransom.
Brief video footage, posted on social media, shows German national Juergen Kantner in an orange shirt kneeling near a grave guarded by three masked Abu Sayyaf militants dressed in black.
The video also shows two of the three militants are carrying high-powered firearms while the other is reading their demand. Black ISIS-style flags are also displayed to the side.
"To the German government: it seems that you are not paying attention to our demands because of your arrogance. We are giving you an ultimatum to fulfil our demands. Failure to pay the ransom will cause the beheading of this German citizen,” one of the gunmen says.
"Have you learned nothing?” asks the gunman in the video, stressing that all infidels will be targeted.
Kantner, 70, was kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf in Nov. 7 from his private yacht near Tanjong Luuk Pisuk, Sabah. His partner, Sabina Merz, 50, was shot and killed.
Government troops discovered Merz's bare body with gunshot wounds later on the yacht docked on a distant island in the Sulu archipelago.
Since April 2014, Abu Sayyaf has victimized four German nationals. The group held another German couple captive in Sulu after they were forcibly taken from their yacht at Rio Tubbataha near Puerto Princesa in Palawan.
Stefan Viktor Okonek, 71, and his companion, Herike Diesen, 55, were on their way back to Sabah in Malaysia after island-hopping in Mindanao when Abu Sayyaf snatched the couple from a speedboat.
They were freed by their captors seven months after paying a 250 million Philippines pesos ($5 million) in ransom to the group.
Aside from Kantner, the ISIL-linked militant group is also holding 26 other captives, together with a Dutch national, one Korean, six Vietnamese, five Malaysians, and nine Filipinos, believed to be hidden away in Sulu and Basilan.
- Six-month goal
The Armed Forces of the Philippines is working to destroy Abu Sayyaf and other ISIL-linked militant groups within a six-month time frame.
This happened after President Duterte reiterated his marching orders to government troops to crush the terrorist groups to put an end to kidnappings and bombings.
Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesperson of the military's Western Mindanao Command, said on Friday: "Well that is our desire, that's what we wanted to happen to finish off the enemies in six months and we will be having action based on that timeline."
Tan was quick to add, "Of course if we can accomplish that early, the sooner the better but if it's delayed then we have to adjust because the battlefield is very fluid."
Asked to comment on the Abu Sayyaf beheading threat, Tan replied: "We are verifying that and we're checking the video footage reportedly posted on social media."
He told a press conference Friday that they have yet to see the supposed footage.
"We still have no idea when the video was taken and when it was released by Abu Sayyaf," said Tan. “We maintain that the life of the victim is at the hands of the enemies.
Whatever happened, it’s their responsibility."
The military is exerting all efforts to recover Kantner and the rest of the hostages still in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf group.”
Since 1991, Abu Sayyaf – armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars, and automatic rifles – has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations, and extortion in a self-determined fight for an independent province in the Philippines.
The group is notorious for beheading victims if ransom is not paid for their release.
It is among the militant groups in the south that have pledged allegiance to ISIL, prompting fears during the stalling of a peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebel group that it could make inroads in a region torn by decades of armed conflict.Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Ocak 2017, 18:46