German Hostage Beheaded By Abu Sayyaf
MANILA, Feb. 28 – “Now he’ll kill me,” were the final words uttered by 70-year old German hostage Jurgen Gustav Kantner before he was beheaded by a knife-wielding Abu Sayyaf terrorist on the island of Sulu in the southern Philippines on Monday.
The Abu Sayyaf terror group made good on their promise to kill Kantner if no ransom was paid by Feb. 26. The ransom demanded by the extremist group was P30 million (US$600,000).
A video taken by the terror group showed Kantner with his hands tied behind his back as a man armed with a sharp curve-bladed weapon slashed Kantner's throat. Other militants armed with high caliber weapons witnessed the execution and chanted in unison “Allahu Akbar.”
Kantner had been appealing to his captors to release him, but his pleas fell on deaf ears.
Kantner spoke his parting words: “Now he’ll kill me,” upon seeing a terrorist armed with a sharp knife approaching him. The attacker severed Kantner's neck with a single stroke.
However, Col. Cirilito E. Sobejana, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), told TMP in a phone interview Monday night that the military is still searching for Kantner's remains.
“We still have to find Mr. Kantner’s body,” he said.
The Abu Sayyaf is known to dump the bodies of hostages at night in unpopulated areas in Jolo, the capital town of the island of Sulu, about 900 kilometers southwest of Manila.
Sobejana said government forces launched massive ground and air operations the past few weeks in an attempt to rescue Kantner, who was taken hostage in November of last year.
He was aboard his yacht, together with a female companion identified as Sabine Merz, sailing in the seawaters of Sulu when they were intercepted by the Abu Sayyaf. The attackers killed Merz.
On Nov. 7, 2016, the military found the vessel drifting off the coast of Sulu. Troops who boarded the yacht found Merz's lifeless body, but Kantner was nowhere to be found.
Later, the Abu Sayyaf declared they had taken the German hostage and demanded P30 million (US$600,000) for his release.
But the Philippine government has a standing policy of not paying ransom.
The military learned about the beheading of Kantner from various sources, but could not immediately confirm it because the victim’s body has not been recovered.
But this morning, Col. Edgar Arevalo, chief of the Public Affairs Office of the AFP, said in a text message to members of media:
“It’s a mournful day for all peace loving and God-fearing citizens of the Philippines. We have finally received information from reliable sources confirming that Mr. Jurgen Gustav Kantner was mercilessly and inhumanly murdered by the evil kidnap-for-ransom Abu Sayyaf group.
“Our operations in the past several days and nights using all our resources were unrelenting. We lost some of our best men in the process, because we value the life of Mr. Kantner and that of the others who have fallen prey to this terrorist group.
“The deaths of hapless civilians like Mr. Kantner in the hands of these terrorists feed the resolve of our soldiers to hunt down all the perpetrators and bring them to the bar of justice.