German hostage beheaded by terror group
A video of Jurgen Kantner with Abu Sayyaf. Source: YouTube
A video has been released in the Philippines reportedly showing the beheading of a German hostage by terror and crime network Abu Sayyaf.
Jurgen Kantner, 70, had been held by the group for three months in southern Sulu province after being kidnapped from his yacht in November.
His wife Sabine Merz, 59, was shot dead during the raid when she resisted being seized and her body was identified on the vessel several weeks later.
In 2009, after he and Merz were held for 52 days in Somalia and released after a six-figure ransom was reportedly paid. He returned to Somalia to retrieve their 53-foot yacht, the Rockall.
“Why should I return to Germany, where I have nobody?” Kantner said at the time. “After 32 years on my boat, I have lost all contact” with Germany.
This week’s video shows Kantner slumped on the grass with a man holding a knife to his neck.
“Now they’ll kill me,” he said, before his execution on Sunday, when the deadline for a US$780,000 ransom expired.
There are growing fears that Isis-affiliated groups are spreading through Asean as the group is displaced in Syria and Iraq.
Long time Abu Sayyaf militant Isnilon Hapilon, based in the southern Philippines, was named “emir” for Asean in another video last year.
He was reportedly injured in an airstrike last month on his headquarters on the large island of Mindanao.
Abu Sayyaf is believed to be holding several hostages and has released others for ransom. Last year it beheaded two Canadians.
The UN has called on Asean, as a whole, to address the issue of militants returning from Syria and Iraq.
About 100 Philippine nationals are believed to have joined Isis in West Asia, along about 100 Malaysians and more than 500 Indonesians.
“Daesh [Isis] has shown great interest in this region. In June last year, a propaganda video instructed their supporters to focus on Southeast Asia, telling them to join their regional branch in the Philippines,” said Jeremy Douglas of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
“Now, as Daesh’s territorial control in the Middle East diminishes, their need to disperse and move elsewhere is becoming a reality.
“As a result, it is predicted that many foreign terrorist fighters from Southeast Asia now in the Middle East, there are believed to be more than 1,000, will return home to continue their campaign and potentially declare a caliphate.”