A video clip released online shows a terrorist group in the Philippines beheading a German hostage, after the group tried to get a ransom of more than $600,000 for his release. His final words were, “Now he kills me.”
German native Jurgen Gustav Kantner, 70, was reportedly kidnapped by the Islamic Abu Sayyaf militant group, which demanded $620,000 for his release. The terror group reportedly murdered Kantner’s wife, Sabine Merz, in November when they captured the couple in Malaysia, the Daily Mail reports.
Villagers in the southern Philippines reportedly found a yacht with the German flag containing a woman’s body. It is unclear whether the remains were Merz.
Reports of Kantner’s death reached Philippine officials on Feb. 26. The video was released the next day.
Sailors Kantner and Merz had previously been kidnapped and held for 58 days by Somali pirates in 2008. They were later freed.
We have reviewed the video and found it is far to graphic to host/embed. We would be risking losing readers and advertisers. If you feel the need you can probably find the video through some crafty googling… Prayers for this man and his family.
In a previously released video message, Abu Sayyaf members threatened to kill Kantner if their demands were not met by the Feb. 26 deadline, saying the Philippine military had attempted to rescue Kantner rather than cooperating with their ransom demand, the Independent reports.
In the video allegedly showing Kantner’s final moments, he says, “Now he kills me,” before members of the militant cell chant “Allahu Akbar,” while a masked man beheads the hostage.
Officials have said that they are still trying to confirm the video’s authenticity, and the Philippine military seeks to find Kantner’s remains before confirming his death.
Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said that he “will not dignify that video by watching it,” saying that the military would continue its efforts against Abu Sayyaf.
Philippine President Rodrigo Durterte’s peace adviser and hostage negotiator Jesus Dureza said the country had “exhausted all efforts” to save Kantner, adding that the government strongly condemned the beheading, reports The Associated Press.
“We all tried our best,” said Dureza. “But to no avail.”
Col. Edgard Arevalo said that the military had used all of its resources to try to rescue Kantner.
“We lost some of our best men in the process, because we value the life of Mr Kantner and that of the others who have fallen prey to this terrorist group,” Arevalo said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also condemned the murder, which she said “shows once again how inhumane and without conscience these terrorists act,” according to a spokesman. “We must all stand together to fight against them.”
The Abu Sayyaf group pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014 and sends ransom proceeds to ISIS in the Middle East.
Sources: Daily Mail, Independent, AP via ABC Australia / Photo credit: International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, Singapore via BenarNews, Terror Monitor/Twitter via Daily Mail