Philippine President condemns Islamist group hinh anh 1Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte apologised on February 28 for failing to rescue German hostage Jurgen Kantner from the militant group Abu Sayyaf, but insisted not paying a ransom was the correct decision.

Addressing the German government representatives and Kantner’s family, Duterte said he was “very sorry” about his death and that the military had stepped up an offensive against Abu Sayyaf in an effort to save him.

The leader stressed that the country will not bow to ransom demands, saying this will just increase the number of victims.

Military officials said on February 28 that they were still searching for his body, while vowing to “relentlessly pursue” the militants and rescue more than 20 other hostages.

The Philippine military on February 26 said it had been verifying a claim that a German hostage was killed by Abu Sayyaf after authorities failed to pay a ransom on time.

According to the military, the group demanded 30 million pesos (about 600,000 USD) by 3pm on February 25 to release the 70 year-old German hostage.

An official said Kantner was beheaded in a town in the country’s southern province of Sulu, adding that Philippine troops are in the area.
The militant group said that it abducted Kantner and killed his wife on a yacht in Malaysia’s Sabahz state in November 2016. 

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has claimed that the Aby Sayyaf group has links with the Islamic State militants in the Middle East.-VNA