Philippines-based militant group Abu Sayyaf has beheaded a German man taken hostage last November. A video of the killing reposted by counterterrorism group SITE showed a machete-wielding militant kill the 70-year-old hostage identified as Jurgen Gustav Kantner.
Kantner was killed after a ransom deadline from the terrorist group ended on Sunday. The foreign minister of the Philippines on Monday reiterated Manila's "no ransom" policy and said the government would crush Abu Sayyaf when the opportunity arises.
Jesus Dureza, presidential adviser on the Philippine peace process, said officials had exhausted all efforts to save Kantner, who was held on the tiny southern island of Jolo.
"We grieve as we strongly condemn the barbaric beheading of yet another kidnap victim," Dureza said.
Based in the southern Philippines, Abu Sayyaf is a small but violent group which pledged allegiance to Daesh in 2014. It was behind the Manila ferry bombing in 2004 which killed 116 people, and the execution of two Canadian hostages in 2016.
Abu Sayyaf seized Kantner and his wife Sabine Merz in the southern Philippines on November 5, 2016. Merz was killed when she tried to fight back.
Hostages for money
In a video circulated online earlier this month, Kantner said the rebels would behead him by mid-afternoon on February 26 if the ransom was not paid. Abu Sayyaf had demanded $605,000.
The video of the beheading has come a day after Philippine troops said they will not get distracted by a threat from Abu Sayyaf to behead Kantner. On Sunday, military spokesman Restituto Padilla said troops were continuing operations to rescue foreign and local hostages, including Kantner, who was believed to be held in the jungles of southern Sulu province.
Military officials have discouraged ransom payments to Abu Sayyaf, saying the funds would be used by the militants to purchase new weapons and would encourage more kidnappings for ransom.
Abu Sayyaf is believed to be holding 26 hostages – 13 Vietnamese, seven Filipinos, a Dutch national, a Japanese, two Indonesians and two Malaysians. They have freed several others in return for ransom payments.