(BBC) – A German yachtsman is believed to have been abducted by Filipino Islamist militants, the Philippines’ army says.
The naked body of a woman found on an abandoned yacht is thought to be his wife, army spokesman Filemon Tan said.
70yo German Jurgen Kantner missing/kidnapped off the Phillippines, Sabine Merz killed. Were kidnapped before in 2009 https://t.co/VghTQyEagE
— Bob Harrod Missing (@findbobharrod) November 7, 2016
In an audio message, the leader of the Abu Sayyaf group, which often kidnaps for ransom, said it was behind the raid, the military spokesman added.
The couple, Jurgen Kantner and Sabine Merwere, were held captive for more than a month by Somali pirates in 2008.
Their passports were found on board on the yacht, Mr Tan said.
The German authorities have yet to confirm the incident.
Abu Sayyaf is one of the smallest and most violent jihadist groups in the southern Philippines.
Known for its brutality, including beheadings, in recent months it is has been behind of a series of attacks at sea between the Philippines and Malaysia with tug boats and fishing vessels intercepted and their crews kidnapped and held for ransom.
(Warning: Graphic Images Ahead)
The German couple’s yacht, the Rockall, was found off Laparan Island in southern Sulu Province, Mr Tan said.
The woman on board had been shot dead – it was not clear why she was killed but she might have fought back, military officials said.
According to Abu Sayyaf, the couple were cruising off Malaysia’s Sabah state when the militants intercepted them, the Filipino military said.
Mr Kantner, 70, and his wife were held for 52 days in 2008 by Somali pirates – and were released after a ransom was paid, the AFP news agency reports.
Abu Sayyaf militants kill German sailor Sabine Merz and kidnap her companion Jurgen Kantner, Philippines military spokesman tells AFP. pic.twitter.com/AB4yo3KAmR
— Steven Clark (@SteveClarkCNA) November 7, 2016
“My boat is my life and I don’t want to lose her… I don’t care about pirates and governments,” Mr Kantner told AFP in 2009 when the couple returned to the self-declared republic of Somaliland to collect their yacht.
No ransom appeal
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is due to hold talks with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak this week – and tackling Abu Sayyaf is expected to be on the agenda, the Reuters news agency reports.
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