Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Philippines: Update--Deadline for Beheading of German Physician Stefan Olonek, 74, is Friday 1500 Hours Local Time

According to http://www.de.dw, Reuters and AFP, a German hostage in the Philippines says Islamists have threatened to execute him on Friday (October 17) if his ransom of over 4 million euros isn't paid. The man was captured with his wife in the western Pacific in April.

Physician Stefan Okonek, 74, told a local radio station on Wednesday (October 15) that his captors had pushed him into a hole in the jungle on Jolo Island, 1,000 kilometers (671 miles) from Manila ahead of Friday's (October 17) deadline for a Okonek's scheduled execution local time.

"I am sitting here in a deep hole, Okonek told DXRZ, a radio station located in nearby Zamboanga City. "They told me this is my grave. They pushed me inside this hole and I am sitting with ten men since last night," Okonek said, referring to guards watching over him.

Okonek has been separated from his companion, Henrike Dielen, since Monday (October 13).

COMMENT: German citizens Stefan Okonek, 74, and his companion, Henrike Dielen, 47, were abducted in April 2014 when their yacht down off the coast of Norneo Island and the Philippine province of of Palawan.

The militant group known as Abu Sayyaf has demanded a $5.6 million dollar (€4.4 million) ransom payment for for Berlin to withdraw its support for US-led air campaign against IS jihadists in both Syria and Iraq.

An Abu Sayyaf spokesman said that it is scheduled to behead Okonek at 1500 hours local time on Friday (October 17).

Last week the Philippine military deployed a team of 100 soldiers from the US Army's Special Operations Command as well as a canine unit in an effort to track and hopefully neutralize the kidnappers before the Friday deadline.

The German Foreign Ministry formed a crisis management team in April 2014 when the couple were abducted.







No comments: