MANILA (dpa) – The two hostages released by Abu Sayyaf bandits in the Philippines this week must receive medical treatment before being allowed to leave the country for their native Germany, a military offical said Sunday.
The hostages – a 72-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman – were taken into custody by the German embassy in Manila on Saturday after being freed from six months of captivity in the southern Philippines.
The two had brief medical check-ups in a military camp in Sulu in the southern Philippines after their release on Friday, but more extensive tests have yet to be completed.
Armed Forces public affairs official Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc said the German man is in poor health. In a video taken at the naval forces command in Zamboanga City on Saturday, the frail-looking man is seen receiving an intravenous drip while eating with his partner.
Cabunoc disputed a statement by Abu Sayyaf’s leader that a ransom of 5.6 million dollars had been paid, saying that the release had come as a result of intensified law enforcement operations.
The rebel group had threatened to behead the male hostage if their demands – including for Germany to withdraw support for the US-led coalition against the Islamic State – were not met.
The two freed hostages were taken hostage last April while on board a yacht off the coast of Palawan on their way to Borneo.