The Abu Sayyaf militants reportedly demanded 500 million pesos (US$10million) in ransom for the German hostage whom they had kidnapped off Sulu forests on November 6.
Sub-commander Alhabsi Misaya released photographs of the 70-year-old hostage, who has been identified as Jurgen Kantner, and disclosed their demand through text messages. However, Misaya did not specify any deadline for paying the ransom or issue any threat against the victim's life if their demand is not met.
Contrary to this statement, Maj. Filemon Tan, Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command spokesman, said they have not received any ransom demand for Kantner and described the amount as "incredible." "We have not received any reported demand and that ransom amount is impossible and incredibly big," he told The Philippines Star.
Tan said they have received intelligence reports, which has confirmed the claims of Muamar Askali alias Abu Rami, the Abu Sayyaf spokesman regarding Kantner's abduction. Kantner's photographs that were released by the militants were a proof of his life.
But, he also added that there are no confirmed reports whether the victim is alive as the actual date of the photograph could not be confirmed. According to him, the photograph was released late last week. "In the picture, there is big probability that it was really Kantner and he was alive during that time.But we have doubt if he is still alive because in the picture it showed how he was tied," Tan said.
He further added: "They showed proof of life but we cannot validate that in the absence of proof that during that day the victim is really alive." The major believes that negotiating was the main motive of the militants and hence they released the victim's photograph.
Tan said the release of the photograph was "important on our side" as it showed Kantner alive giving them a chance to rescue. "Anyway, whatever his (Kantner) status, the troops will keep on conducting the operations. We must remember that as far as the military is concerned, our 'verb' against Abu Sayyaf group is to destroy them," he added.