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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The Abu Sayyaf has dug a grave for the two Germans that they have kidnapped and threatened to behead, according to one of the hostages.
“I’m sitting here in a hole. They dug a hole, three meters by 1.5 meters. They told me this is my grave. They pushed me inside the hole,” Stefan Viktor Okonek, who was put on dxRZ-Radio Mindanao Network by Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Rami, said yesterday.
“They told me on Friday they will kill me…I have not seen anyone from the government... Please do everything to get us out here,” Okonek added.
Okonek said at least 10 gunmen have been guarding him around the clock.
He said his captors have been giving him enough food, but he is too weak, having lost 20 pounds.
The Abu Sayyaf said they would behead Okonek, 74, and his wife Henrike Dielen, 55, tomorrow if their demands for P250 million in ransom and Germany’s withdrawal of support for the US-led campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are not met.
Rami said they are open to negotiating with the “DFA administrator” about their demands, referring to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
He said some politicians, whom he did not identify, have been sending their emissaries to negotiate with them.
But Rami said they would only talk with somebody with “no record of corruption,” adding that only the DFA administrator, without naming Secretary Albert del Rosario, is qualified. Del Rosario is in Milan, Italy for the Asia-Europe Meeting.
He did not say if they would free the German hostages if Del Rosario agrees to negotiate with them.
Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Gregorio Catapang said they would verify the supposed grave of the German hostages.
He said they would just follow the orders to be given by the crisis management committee.
AFP vice chief of staff Lt. Gen. John Bonafros said a special action committee was created to address the situation.
”There is no deadline set,” Bonafros said, as he maintained the government will not negotiate with terrorists.