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Philippine troops recover body of beheaded German hostage

The Philippines military has found Jürgen Gustav Kantner's body on the island of Jolo. The German national was taken hostage from his yacht on November 5 along with a companion and beheaded by Islamist militants.

Watch video 00:26

Philippine troops recover body of German hostage

Philippine troops were on patrol in the mountainous hinterlands of Indanan town in the remote southern province of Sulu, about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) south of Manila on Saturday evening, when they discovered the 70-year-old's head and body.

The German national's remains have been turned over to a military hospital morgue for processing and preservation, regional military commander Major General Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

Kantner was beheaded on February 26 by the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group after a ransom of 30 million pesos ($600,000, 565,000 euros) was not paid before a deadline set by his captors.

Somalia 2009 - Jürgen Kantner & Sabine Merz, Seeleute (Getty Images/AFP/M. Abdi)

The couple had been previously abducted and held hostage by Somali pirates off the Gulf of Aden in 2008

Held for three months

Kantner was seized by militants on November 5 from his yacht in the southern Philippines.

The group shot dead his 59-year-old wife after she fought back and her body was left on the boat.

Kantner had appealed for help twice in short video messages, saying he would be killed if the ransom was not paid. A video was later released showing his beheading, to the outrage of the German government.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has apologized to Germany for failing to save Kantner while insisting that ransoms should not be paid.

"This government will leave no stone unturned in squarely addressing the evils of extremism and plain banditry," a presidential spokesman said in a statement on Sunday.

The military said at least 14 people were killed over the past two days as part of an offensive to hunt down Kantner's killers.

Abu Sayyaf, which has pledged allegiance to the "Islamic State" (IS) armed group, is believed to be holding at least 26 more hostages, including 12 Vietnamese sailors, seven Indonesians and a Dutch man who was kidnapped in 2012.

Blamed for the nation's worst terrorist attacks, the group has made millions of dollars in ransom money and colluded with corrupt local officials to defy decades of military operations.

Watch video 02:55

German hostage executed by Abu Sayyaf (27.02.17)

mm/jlw (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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