A 70-year-old German sailor caught in the conflict in southern Philippines has been beheaded by ISIL affiliated Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf.
A video posted online by the terrorism monitoring group SITE shows the German pensioner being beheaded after a ransom deadline set by his captors expired.
— SITE Intel Group (@siteintelgroup) 27 February 2017
The group kidnapped Kantner from his 53ft yacht, The Rockall, sailing off the coast of the southern Philippine province of Tawi-Tawi in November, killing his wife, 59-year-old Sabine Merz, after she reportedly opened fire on the hijackers with a shotgun.
Jurgen was seen asking the German embassy for help and pleading for his life in a video released on February 14.
“If their demand of 30 million pesos (£485,264) is not met by Feb 26, at 3pm, they will behead the hostage and post it on social media,” subtitles on the video read.
The Philippines military has said it is trying to confirm reports that Kantner has been killed.
While the Philippines had said in the past that it would not pay any ransom, it said that it would not intervene if the victim’s family or any other party wanted to pay for Kantner’s release.
A police report released earlier said Kantner was executed at around 3.30pm, on Sunday in Buanza district, Indanan town, Sulu province, 1,500km south of the capital Manila.
“Despite efforts exerted by groups and the security forces, I have received reports about the alleged beheading of a German kidnap victim in Sulu (on) Sunday afternoon,” Mr Jesus Dureza, President Rodrigo Duterte’s peace adviser and chief hostage negotiator, said in a statement he issued late on Sunday evening
Kantner was allegedly beheaded by men under a certain Muammar Askali, alias Abu Rami, purportedly a unit leader of the brutal Abu Sayyaf group, linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Major-General Carlito Galvez, commander of the Western Mindanao Command, and Colonel Edgard Arevalo, head of the military’s public affairs office, said they also received unconfirmed information from the field that Kantner was beheaded.
Katner and his wife were held for 52 days in Somalia in 2008 before captors freed them, reportedly after a six-figure ransom had been paid.
The Abu Sayyaf has defied more than a decade of US-backed military offensives against it and are known for kidnapping and ransoming foreigners.
In 2014, the militants abducted another German couple off a yacht in the southern Philippines. They released the pair six months later after receiving what they said was the full ransom demand of US$5.1 million.