The US-based terrorism monitoring group SITE reported that the extremists said they would kill one of two German hostages (main picture) unless a 250 million pesos (5.62 million USD) ransom was paid and Berlin stopped supporting the US-led campaign against the “Islamic State” (IS) group in Iraq and Syria. Manila responded on September 25, saying the Philippine government doesn’t negotiate with Islamist militants. “We will not be intimidated by these gestures and actions. We will continue to contain them,” Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said.
The German hostages – aged 71 and 55 – are thought to have been seized by the rebels from their yacht off the western province of Palawan on April 25. The Abu Sayyaf (ASG), a small group of Islamic militants based in the southern Philippines, have been blamed for some of the worst terrorist attacks in the Philippines and high-profile kidnappings of foreign hostages. At least one ASG commander has pledged allegiance to IS.
Joseph Franco, a terrorism expert at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore, says in a DW interview that while the group may present itself as an organization aimed at establishing a caliphate across Mindanao, it is not primarily driven by ideology, but by financial interests. But while the group may be weaker than before, there are good reasons to take their ransom demands seriously, he adds.
Last updated on 26/09/2014