MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday apologized to Germany after their citizen was beheaded by terror group Abu Sayyaf.
“I am very sorry that the hostage, a national of your country, has been beheaded, I sympathize with the family, I commiserate with the German people,” Duterte said in an interview in Malacañang.
“We really tried our best. The military operation has been going on for some time. We have failed, that has to be admitted. There’s nothing wrong in admitting failure,” Duterte added.
German Juergen Gustav Kantner was beheaded by the bandit group after the deadline to pay the ransom demand of P30 million lapsed.
Duterte said, the government is sticking to its no ransom policy.
“There’s a standing policy, because if you give in and pay mas maraming biktima at wala ng katapusan (if you give in and pay there will be more victims and this will not end),” he said.
“It’s a matter of policy that we don’t surrender to the demand of paying ransom.”
Kanter was abducted from his yacht, the Rockall, in waters off the southern Philippines last year.
The vessel was found drifting on November 7, with the body of Kantner's female companion, Sabine Merz, bearing a gunshot wound.
The couple had previously been kidnapped and held for 52 days in Somalia in 2008 before they were freed, reportedly after a huge ransom was paid, press reports said.
In confirming the death of the German national, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) revealed that they also have lost several of their men while conducting retrieval operations for Kantner and other victims.
"Our operations in the past several days and nights using all our resources were unrelenting. We lost some of our best men in the process, because we value the life of Mr. Kantner and that of the others who have fallen prey to this terrorist group," the AFP said in a statement.
The AFP condemned the incident and promised to continue its ongoing operations to rescue other kidnap victims.
The Abu Sayyaf, whose leaders have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State movement in the Middle East, have been kidnapping foreigners and Christians for decades, holding them for ransom in the jungles of the strife-torn southern Philippines. – with AFP