The Abu Sayyaf group released a new video on Tuesday threatening to kill an elderly German hostage if they do not pay a ransom of 30 million pesos (S$854,000). The militant group said it will execute the prisoner on February 26. The video that was sent via the chat app Telegram showed Juerguen Kantner, who was kidnapped off Sulu forests last year, apparently pleading for his life in German.
The caption of the video said this was a "final ultimatum" from the group of Islamist extremists, who operate along the Philippines' porous southern borders with Malaysia. It read: "If their demand of 30 million pesos is not met by Feb 26, at 3 pm, they will behead the hostage and post the footage on social media."
In 2016, Kantner was kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf militants while he and his wife, Sabine Merz, were cruising through a dangerous area of the Philippines. According to reports, his wife was killed when she tried to fight back with a shotgun.
Last November, there were reports of the militants demanding 500 million pesos (US$10million) in ransom for the German hostage. But they did not specify any deadline for paying the ransom. Sub-commander Alhabsi Misaya had released photographs of the 70-year-old hostage and disclosed their demand through text messages.
The Abu Sayyaf group, linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, is an insurgent group known for kidnapping foreigners for ransom and has defied more than a decade of US-backed military offensives against it. In recent years, the group has conducted a lucrative kidnapping spree.
The militants kidnapped another German couple off a yacht in the southern Philippines in 2014. Six months later, the duo was released after receiving what they said was the full ransom demand of US$5.1 million (S$7.1 million).