MANILA –The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Sunday announced it is still verifying reports that the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) had carried out its threat to behead German hostage Juergen Kantner.
“There was an unconfirmed report that the German kidnap victim Mr. Kantner was beheaded by the ASG. But we are still validating this report,” AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said.
The ASG earlier threatened to behead Kantner if the PHP30 million ransom they are demanding are not paid before 3 p.m. of Feb. 26.
“Our operating units on the ground are still on the ‘search and rescue’ mode,” he said. “Let us continue to pray that your AFP will be able to rescue the kidnap victims.”
Presidential Peace Adviser Sec. Jesus Dureza also received the same reports about the alleged beheading by the Abu Sayyaf captors “but I need official AFP validation.”
“Despite efforts exerted by groups and the security forces, I have received reports about the alleged beheading of a German kidnap victim in Sulu Sunday afternoon,” Dureza said in a statement.
Dureza said Col. Cirilito Sobejana, Joint Sulu Task Force commander, has informed by phone that as of 8:30 p.m. Sunday, “validation efforts of such report are still ongoing.”
“In the meantime, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other security forces are maintaining their “search and rescue posture” until all kidnap victims are freed,” Dureza said
Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) information officer, added they cannot confirm the information.
“There are information that is circulating, but we cannot confirm that and we cannot make any official statement regarding to that (information),” Petinglay said.
Information disclosed that Kantner was allegedly beheaded by the group of ASG sub-leader Muammar Askali alais Abu Rami around 3:30 p.m. Sunday in Sitio Talibang, Barangay Buanza, Indanan, Sulu
The group of Abu Rami has set the deadline until 3 p.m. Sunday to pay P30 million for the safe release of Kantner.
The ASG seized Kantner off Tawi-Tawi in November last year as he and his wife Sabine Merz, were sailing aboard a yacht.
The ASG killed Sabine when she reportedly put up a fight and her bullet-riddled body was found later on the yacht.