The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) struck again last week, seizing a German sailor and killing his wife off Pangutaran, Sulu, the military said Monday.
The body of Sabina Wetch was found on board the yacht Rockall Sunday, Maj. Felimon Tan, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom)
The military said ASG sub-leader Muamar Askali alias Abu Rami had claimed that his group abducted Juegen Kantner.
Tan said the military had recovered the couple’s yacht, and the body of a naked white woman who had been shot was aboard. The passports of Kantner and Merz were found on the Rockall.
He said the military had listened to an audio recording of Rami and Kantner also spoke on the phone call.
Kantner, 70, identified his companion as Sabine, according to Tan.
The victims were the same as those abducted by Somali pirates off the Gulf of Aden and held hostage for 52 days in 2008.
Tan said the military is coordinating with scene of the crime operatives (SOCO) to determine if the woman was raped before she was killed because there were indications that she was sexually molested.
The military theorized that the victim was killed when she tried to fight with the jihadists by grabbing the shotgun.
“Hindi siguro matiis ng babae yung ginawa, baka nakita yung shotgun na nakatago, lumaban binanatan nila (Maybe she could not take what they did to her, she saw the shotgun and tried to fight her attackers),” Tan surmised.
The kidnapping happened despite the massive military operations being conducted in the ASG strongholds in Sulu and Basilan. Armed Forces chief Gen. Ricardo Visaya has ordered the military to use all available war materiel to finish off the terrorist group.
The AFP had claimed gaining significant headway in its campaign against the ASG in Basilan and Sulu since President Rodrigo Duterte ordered in July the “total decimation” of the extremist group.
In an earlier presentation to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Visaya said at least 579 massive military operations have been conducted against the group that resulted in the killing of 56 jihadists, capture of 21 and surrender of 21 others.