Military officials say they have verified that two German tourists, who went missing last April, were abducted by Abu Sayyaf militants and are being held 'unharmed' by the Al-Qaeda-linked gunmen in their jungle encampments in the south.
German tourists Professor Stefan O. (74) and his companion Henrike D. (55) holding a German flag while being held by members of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group.
The source shared a copy of a photograph going the rounds of the intelligence community showing the two Germans surrounded by a group of men armed with heavy automatic weapons, with two fighters sitting on the ground and the two Germans holding what appears to be a German Flag.
The two Germans were identified in previous media reports as Stefan Victor Okonek, 71 and Herike Diesen 55.
The ASG has gained notoriety with kidnap for ransom activities.
The two were taken by heavily-armed bandits while on their way to Sabah, Malaysia from Palawan in late April, the Manila based intelligence officer said.
The two Germans had just come from an island-hoping trip around the coast of Mindanao when abducted on April 26 in the waters off Bataraza town in the Southern tip of Palawan province.
'The ASG have been holding the Germans since they were taken last April from Palawan,' the intelligence officer, who asked not to be named, said.
When asked if there are ongoing negotiations for the release of the two Germans, the source replied in the negative.
'I'm not privy to whether or not there were negotiations taking place... but what I know is that the Germans don't trust us,' the intelligence source said.
The German tourists were abducted after the presence of their yacht was purportedly tipped off by relatives of the Abu Sayyaf fighters who were living in the area.
Regional military commander Lieutenant General Rustico Guerrero said Thursday that the government has ordered troops to locate the Germans in Sulu province and ensure their safe recovery but he declined to say what the military intends to do.
He says the Abu Sayyaf is holding about 10 hostages, including the Germans and two other Europeans kidnapped two years ago.
Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/108071/2-missing-germans-abducted-by-abu-sayyaf-says-military#ixzz3AaaOJShK