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Did Aquino authorize payment of ransom for release of German hostages?

/ 05:09 PM October 20, 2014
German nationals Stefan Viktor Okonek (center) and Henrike Dielen (right) rest at  a military base in Zamboanga City early Saturday hours after their release from Abu Sayyaf captivity on Friday night. AP FILE PHOTO

German nationals Stefan Viktor Okonek (center) and Henrike Dielen (right) rest at a military base in Zamboanga City early Saturday hours after their release from Abu Sayyaf captivity on Friday night. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III on Monday insisted that no ransom—at least from his office—was paid for the release of the two Germans held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf.

“Well, nothing came from the Office of the President. I can assure you that. I didn’t authorize anything from the Office of the President,” he said during an interview in Leyte.

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The President explained that government forces have been focused on pinning down the Abu Sayyaf “rather than (offering) ransom.”

The Abu Sayyaf earlier asked for a P250 million ransom in exchange for the release of two German nationals Dr. Stefan Viktor Okonek and Henrike Dielen. The group gave a deadline for the ransom and threatened to kill Okonek. Last Friday, however, an Abu Sayyaf spokesperson claimed that the two were released because the ransom was paid in full.

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But Aquino insisted that they are zeroing in on the Abu Sayyaf as a threat, which has affected the country’s relationship with neighboring states.

“Wala silang humpay at palagay ko naman dapat rin tapatan ng estado na walang humpay ‘yung pagtutugis sa kanila,” he said.

(They are unceasing, that is why the State should also continue the pursuit against them.)

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TAGS: Abu Sayyaf, Benigno Aquino III, German hostage, Henrike Dielen, Ransom, Stefan Viktor Okonek, Terrorism
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