German hostage in new ISIS video

CAIRO • Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) supporters posted a video yesterday showing an elderly German man believed to have been kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf rebels last November.

The video shows the German man in an orange jumpsuit standing in a freshly dug grave as black-clad masked militants behind him held assault rifles.

The militants spoke in Arabic and threatened the German government in English while the ISIS black flag stood in the background. "To the German government: It seems that you are not paying attention to our demands. Failure to pay the ransom will cause the beheading of this German citizen," one of the masked men can be heard saying.

The German Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the video, saying it was its policy not to discuss cases involving Germans kidnapped abroad.

Soldiers had found the body of a German woman on an abandoned yacht in the troubled waters of the southern Philippines on Nov 7, and said they suspected her companion might have been taken captive by Abu Sayyaf rebels.

The body was found naked and with gunshot wounds on the yacht, which bore a German flag and was docked on a remote island in the Sulu archipelago, a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf.

Abu Sayyaf is an Al-Qaeda-linked group known for kidnappings, beheadings and, increasingly, piracy. Several of its factions have declared their allegiance to ISIS since 2014.

The Filipino army at the time said the Abu Sayyaf leader, Muamar Askali, had made claims on radio that they were holding a 70-year-old German after intercepting the yacht in Sabah, eastern Malaysia, a week earlier.

Abu Sayyaf rebels have since March been intercepting slow- moving tugboats towing coal barges in waters near the borders of Malaysia and the Philippines, taking captive over a dozen Indonesian and Malaysian sailors.

Several hostages have been freed after paying ransom to Abu Sayyaf.

It is holding 15 captives, including a Netherlands citizen, five Malaysians, two Indonesians and seven Filipinos.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2017, with the headline 'German hostage in new ISIS video'. Print Edition | Subscribe