ISLAMIC militants have beheaded the German hostage they were holding for ransom, the SITE Intelligence group bared Monday.
Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza hours later confirmed the “barbaric” beheading and condemned those responsible.
A video posted by the extremist Abu Sayyaf group, which was monitored by SITE, showed German hostage Jurgen Kantner being killed by a knife-wielding man.
The video appeared to confirm preliminary reports received by Philippine government officials that the
mercenary group had slain Kantner.
A report by Al Jazeera television network showed a video of an elderly captive slumped on a grassy lot and a man holding a knife to his neck. “Now they’ll kill me,” Kantner said before he was executed.
The Abu Sayyaf, blamed for the worst terror attacks in Philippine history, had previously demanded a ransom of P30 million ($600,000) by Sunday to spare the 70-year-old.
Dureza, who was negotiating for Kantner’s life, told AFP he had heard of the video, adding that it confirmed earlier reports that Kantner had been killed.
However he and military officials said Kantner’s body had not yet been sighted.
Kantner was abducted from his yacht, the Rockall, in waters off Tawi-Tawi in Mindanao last year.
The vessel was found drifting on November 7, with the body of Kantner’s female companion, Sabine Merz, 56, bearing a gunshot wound inside.
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.
Dureza, in a statement, said: “Up to the last moment, many sectors, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines exhausted all efforts to save his life. We all tried our best. But to no avail.”
The Cabinet official said he was always in close contact with German authorities.
“Terrorism has no place in a country like ours and we as a people must confront violent extremism every time it rears its ugly head. Another precious life had been needlessly lost. There must be a stop to this killing of the innocent and the helpless,” he said.
“We condole with his family, friends and loved ones.”
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.
They are holding at least 19 foreigners and seven Filipinos hostages, military spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said.
The group, formed from seed money provided by a relative of Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden, also carried out the bombing of a ferry in Manila Bay in 2004 that claimed 116 lives in the country’s deadliest terror attack.