• Germany's news in English

German hostages freed in Philippines

AFP/DPA/The Local · 17 Oct 2014, 17:02

Published: 17 Oct 2014 15:44 GMT+02:00
Updated: 17 Oct 2014 17:02 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

General Gregorio Catapang told reporters that the pair had been taken to a military hospital after their release.

DXRZ radio, based in the city of Zamboanga, had earlier broadcast an interview with a spokesman for the hostage-takers, who claimed they had received a ransom payment.

TV station GMA News quoted an unnamed government official, who said that 60 million pesos (around €1m) had been paid to secure the hostages' release.

There was no official confirmation of the reports early on Friday afternoon. The Islamists had set a deadline of Friday for payment or one of the hostages would be killed.

The Foreign Ministry in Berlin had confirmed at a press conference earlier on Friday that one of its crisis negotiators was in the Philippines to deal with the case.

The 72-year-old German doctor and his 55-year-old partner, both from Hesse, were abducted in April while sailing around the islands, and have been forced to appear repeatedly in videos released online and on local radio.

Abu Sayyaf had been demanding a ransom of more than 250 million pesos (€4.4 million) for their release, as well as insisting that Germany cease all support for the battle against Isis in Iraq.

Earlier on Friday they announced a two-hour extension to their 7am deadline before beheading one of the couple if the payment of the ransom were promised over the phone.

Filipino armed forces were also reportedly preparing to rescue the pair, two anonymous soldiers told DPA. But officials wouldn't confirm the reports at the time.

Abu Sayyaf, classed as a terrorist organization by the United States, is a band of several hundred Islamic militants which started out as an offshoot of Al-Qaeda in the 1990s.

Story continues below…

In a video released earlier this year, the group swore allegiance to Isis after the Iraq- and Syria-based terrorists claimed statehood.

It operates on remote and largely lawless southern Philippine islands that are mostly populated by the nation's Muslim minority, and has been blamed for some of the Philippines' most brutal terror attacks.

It is believed to be holding up to ten other hostages, including two European birdwatchers captured in February 2012.

SEE ALSO: Islamists threaten to behead German hostage

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd