German authorities to work with PHL against Abu Sayyaf

Germany has condemned the beheading of an elderly German captive by Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf militants who posted a video of the killing after a deadline for a P30-million ransom passed.
The video showed a machete-wielding militant behead Juergen Gustav Kantner.
The German captive had appealed for help twice in short video messages, saying he would be killed if ransom were not paid.
Speaking during a news conference with his Italian counterpart, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the perpetrators must not be allowed to go unpunished.
"Sadly, we have to assume that the news coming out of the Philippines is correct: that the kidnapped German citizen is no longer alive. Of course it is appalling to see how brutally and inhumanely a human life was treated. His murder is abhorrent. And it shows just what methods international terror is prepared to use... Of course the relevant German authorities will work with the Philippines to do everything we can to catch the perpetrators. Such a crime cannot go unpunished," Gabriel said in Rome.
Abu Sayyaf's activities in recent years have been mainly banditry, but the Philippines believes Islamic State has been in contact with members of the group's leadership with a view to gaining a foothold in Southeast Asia.
Abu Sayyaf, which means "bearer of the sword", has capitalized on decades of instability in the southern Philippines and generated tens of millions of dollars from piracy and ransom payments.
It uses the money to buy arms, high-powered boats and modern navigation equipment, allowing it to avoid detection and seize crew of slow-moving vessels with ease.
Kantner and his companion were taken captive in November while sailing on a 53-footer yacht near Sabah, eastern Malaysia, and brought to Jolo. His companion was shot dead when she tried to resist the militants.
Reports of Kantner's execution emerged on Sunday evening, but the military only confirmed the killing on Monday, citing "reliable sources." It said it would continue to search for Kantner's remains in order to hand them over to his family.
The military had said that the militants were still holding 33 hostages, including seven Filipinos and 26 foreigners.
A Dutch national, a Japanese, two Indonesians and two Malaysians are among the 26 captive foreigners. 



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