The Philippines’ military forces have recovered the body of a German hostage killed by Takfiri militants in the south of the country last week.
Military officials said on Sunday that Philippine marines had found the decapitated body of German sailor Jurgen Kantner, 70, on a remote island, more than 1,000 kilometers south of the capital city, Manila.
“The Armed Forces of the Philippines continue with all efforts to make good (on) its commitment to return the remains of the kidnapping victim to his homeland to accord to him the decent burial he deserves,” said military spokesman Colonel Edgard Arevalo.
Officials were preparing documents to transport the body. Kantner’s remains were in a military hospital morgue in Sulu Province in the meantime.
Kantner’s yacht was found drifting off the southern Philippines on November 7 last year with the body of his wife, Sabine Merz, who had been shot. The two had previously been taken hostage by Somali pirates in 2008 and later freed.
Both killings and Kantner’s kidnapping had been carried out by the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group.
The kidnappers had demanded for 30 million pesos (600,000 dollars) in ransom to free the hostage. The demand was not met and the hostage was beheaded on the island of Mindanao in Sulu Province, which is the terror outfit’s stronghold.
Abu Sayyaf, operative in the southern Philippines, has pledged allegiance to Daesh, which is mainly active in Iraq and Syria but also conducts terrorist attacks elsewhere across the globe.
Meanwhile, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte apologized on Tuesday for failing to save Kantner and said the military had stepped up operations against the militants.
Troops have clashed with Abu Sayyaf in recent days, leaving 18 soldiers injured and 14 militants dead, according to the military, which has been unable to recover their bodies.
Abu Sayyaf has been kidnapping foreigners and locals for decades and holding them for ransom. The group is believed to still hold at least 19 foreigners and six Filipinos as hostages.