Soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have recovered the body of German national Juergen Gustav Kantner in Indanan, Sulu on Saturday night.
Kantner’s body was recovered in Sitio Talibang, Barangay Buanza, Indanan, Sulu days after he was beheaded by the bandit group Abu Sayyaf.
The chief of the AFP’s Public Affairs Office, Marine Colonel Edgard Arevalo said the remains of Mr. Kantner will be kept at the Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Hospital Morgue while completing documentary requirements prior to transport.
“The tireless endeavor to locate the remains of Mr. Kantner amidst the ongoing conduct of joint operations against the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group finally paid off,” Arevalo said in a statement.
Earlier, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza confirmed Kantner’s beheading last February 26 following the failure of Philippine and German authorities to pay the P30 million ransom damand set by the bandits.
Troops have clashed with the Abu Sayyaf in recent days, leaving 18 soldiers injured and 14 militants dead, according to the military which has been unable to recover their bodies.
The Abu Sayyaf, established with seed money from Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network, have been kidnapping foreigners and locals for decades and holding them for ransom.
They are believed to still hold at least 19 foreigners and six Filipino hostages.
Blamed for the nation’s worst terrorist attacks, the Abu Sayyaf has used the support of local communities, millions of dollars in ransom and collusion with corrupt local officials to defy decades of military operations.
Police reports stated that the 70-year-old Kanter was beheaded by the group of Abu Sayyaf leader Muammar Askali alias “Abu Rami” at Sitio Talibang, Brgy. Buanza in Indanan, Sulu. (FRANCIS T. WAKEFIELD)