German’s killing won’t go unpunished–Palace
Saying it was “deeply saddened,” Malacañang vowed on Sunday that the beheading by Abu Sayyaf bandits of their 70-year-old German hostage, Jurgen Kantner, after their deadline for a P30-million ransom elapsed would not go unpunished.
“President Duterte has declared time and again that terrorism is the twin scourge of narcopolitics, and that this government will leave no stone unturned in squarely addressing the evils of extremism and plain banditry,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
“We reiterate our sincere sympathies to the family of Mr. Kantner, as well as to the rest of the German people, for this modern-day cruelty. Rest assured these mindless acts will not go unpunished,” he said in the statement.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned Kantner’s killing as an “abominable act.” The Abu Sayyaf circulated a video of the beheading online.
Kantner had appealed for help twice in short video messages, saying he would be killed if a ransom was not paid.
Mr. Duterte had apologized to Germany for failing to save Kantner while insisting that ransoms should not be paid.
Philippine Marines dug up the head and body of Kantner late Saturday in the mountainous hinterlands of Indanan town on Jolo Island in Sulu province, where the ransom-seeking bandits were holding at least 31 other foreign and Filipino hostages, said regional military commander Maj. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr.
Kantner’s remains are in a military hospital morgue in Sulu while officials prepare documentation for transporting the body. Arrangements were being made with the German Embassy for his burial.
Kantner was seized from his yacht, Rockall, with his female German companion off Malaysia’s Sabah state last November.
Kantner’s companion was fatally shot on the yacht, which was later found in southern Philippines, according to the military.
The couple had survived a kidnapping ordeal off Somalia in 2008.
Abella said the remains were discovered by Marine Battalion Landing Team 3 under the Joint Task Force Sulu, according to a military report.
About two dozen Filipino soldiers were wounded in clashes that also left 16 Abu Sayyaf gunmen dead in efforts to find and rescue Kantner.
After he was beheaded, troops intensified ground assaults and airstrikes.
On Sunday, Marines killed four Abu Sayyaf bandits and seized seven rifles in an assault near Maimbung town.
At least 10 other bandits were killed in a separate clash on Friday that also wounded 18 soldiers near Patikul town, said Sulu’s military commander Col. Cirilito Sobejana.
An intelligence report seen by The Associated Press (AP) said the bandits behind Kantner’s abduction and killing included Abu Sayyaf commander Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan and his nephew, Mujil Yadah, who was also allegedly involved in the 2015 kidnappings of a Norwegian, a Filipino woman and two Canadians from a yacht club in Mindanao. The two Canadians were separately beheaded last year.
According to the report, the other kidnappers of the German included Moammar Askali and Idang Susukan.
Askali, a young bandit, insisted that Kantner should be killed on schedule as the Abu Sayyaf had threatened to do, but others wanted to wait longer to get a huge ransom, the report said.
The Abu Sayyaf, which has more than 400 fighters, has been blacklisted by the Philippines and the United States as a terrorist organization for kidnappings, beheadings and bombings. —WITH REPORTS FROM THE WIRES, CHRISTINE O. AVENDAÑO, CYNTHIA D. BALANA AND JULIE S. ALIPALA
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