Palace insists no ransom paid for release of Germans
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang insisted on Sunday that no ransom was paid to secure the release of two German hostages from the Abu Sayyaf Friday night.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma maintained that Viktor Stefan Okonek, 71, and Henrike Dielen, 55, had been freed due to “intense pressure” exerted by government troops on the bandits.
“There is no change in the government’s ‘no ransom’ policy,” Coloma said over Radyo ng Bayan.
Citing a report from the Armed Forces, Coloma said the Abu Sayyaf was forced to let go of Okonek and Dielen while the bandits were being pursued by the military.
The bandits claimed they released the hostages after receiving the full P250-million ransom.
The group earlier set a Friday deadline to execute the Germams unless the ransom was paid.
“The two Germans were released only a few minutes ago and we are happy about that,” Abu Sayyaf spokesperson Abu Rami said Friday night.
“We gave them to the negotiator but they are having problems traveling by chopper to Zamboanga tonight,” Rami added Friday night.
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