Philippine militants may extend deadline for German ransom

2014-10-17 11:47
Abu Sayyaf militants. (YouTube)

Abu Sayyaf militants. (YouTube)

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Manila - Islamist militants holding a German couple hostage for ransom in the southern Philippines said Friday they could extend the deadline briefly if the money is confirmed to be on its way.

"We will extend the deadline by two hours if we get a call", Abu Rami, a spokesperson for the Abu Sayyaf group, told a local radio station in nearby Zamboanga City.

The Abu Sayyaf militants have threatened to kill the man by 15:00 if $5.6m was not paid and Germany does not withdraw its support for US-led attacks against Islamic state jihadists in Syria and Iraq.

"Unless there is somebody who will talk to us, we won't allow an additional hour or an extension of the time", Rami told DXRZ, which the group has used in the past to issue demands and other statements about the hostages.

Hours before the original deadline, hundreds of troops were deployed from the downtown area of Jolo Island, 1 000km south of Manila, to nearby Patikul town where the militants were believed to be holding the hostages, local residents said.

"Security is very tight outside of the downtown area and everyone is tense because of the execution threat," a resident said as a convoy of more than a dozen military trucks passed by.

More than 3 000 troops have been deployed on Jolo last week to step up security and patrols in the jungles where the Abu Sayyaf militants have been holding the hostages.

"We are ready for all-out operations against the kidnappers", said Colonel Allan Arrajado, commander of an army task force in Sulu province, which covers Jolo. "We will do our best so that their lives will not be endangered."

The 72-year-old German man and his partner, a 55-year-old woman, were abducted in April while they were sailing from the western Philippine province of Palawan to Borneo. They have pleaded for their release in radio appeals allowed by their captors.

On Wednesday, the German man told a local radio station that his captors had dug a grave for him, and that he had been separated from his partner.

Read more on:    philippines  |  germany  |  abductions

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