Abu Sayyaf kidnaps German, kills his wife

Filipino military personnel on the Rockall, which was found drifting on Sunday off Laparan island in Sulu province, the Abu Sayyaf stronghold. The extremist group abducted the yacht's German owner and killed his wife.
Filipino military personnel on the Rockall, which was found drifting on Sunday off Laparan island in Sulu province, the Abu Sayyaf stronghold. The extremist group abducted the yacht's German owner and killed his wife.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

MANILA • The extremist Abu Sayyaf group operating along the Philippines' porous southern borders with Malaysia has abducted a German after killing his wife, just hours after snatching two Indonesians in waters off Sabah.

Major Filemon Tan, a spokesman for the Philippine military's Western Command, said the Abu Sayyaf took Mr Jurgen Kantner, 70, from a yacht sailing off the Malaysian state on Sunday, a report said yesterday.

Later that same day, his yacht - the Rockall, which was flying the German flag - was found drifting off Laparan island in Sulu province, the Abu Sayyaf stronghold that is more than 1,000km south of the Philippine capital Manila.

Found on the yacht was the body of Mr Kantner's wife, Ms Sabine Merz.

Maj Tan said Ms Merz had gunshot wounds, and a shotgun was found beside her.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported one Muammar Askali, purportedly a spokesman for the brutal Islamist group behind the abduction, as saying: "Unfortunately, the other one died. She tried to shoot us, so we shot her."

Last Saturday, two Indonesians aged 52 and 46, both fishing boat skippers, were kidnapped by five men on board a speedboat from fishing vessels in two separate incidents off Sandakan town in Sabah.

Media reports say the German couple had been abducted by Somali pirates off the Gulf of Aden and held hostage for 52 days in 2008. They were later released amid speculation that a ransom had been paid to the pirates.

The Abu Sayyaf is holding hostage a Dutch national, five Malaysians, two Indonesians and four Filipinos, The Daily Inquirer quoted military sources as saying.

Raul Dancel

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 08, 2016, with the headline 'Abu Sayyaf kidnaps German, kills his wife'. Print Edition | Subscribe