Philippines' Abu Sayyaf to negotiate for German hostages

The Abu Sayyaf rebel group Wednesday said that it is ready to negotiate with Philippino Foreign Minister Alberto Del Rosario for the release of two German hostages.

IANS| Last Updated: Oct 15, 2014, 13:32 PM IST

Manila: The Abu Sayyaf rebel group Wednesday said that it is ready to negotiate with Philippino Foreign Minister Alberto Del Rosario for the release of two German hostages.

In an interview with a local radio station, Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Rami said they are willing to allow del Rosario to serve as a mediator and secure their demands, Xinhua reported.

"We would like to talk to the Philippine Foreign Affairs chief because his agency isn`t corrupt. We would reiterate to him our demands," the spokesman said.

He said they would not impose a deadline if talks would focus on meeting their demands for the release of the two Germans - a ransom of 250 million pesos ($5.6 million) and a halt to the campaign against Islamic State (IS) militants by the government.

The group had threatened to kill the two Germans if their demands would not be met by Oct 17.

One of the two German hostages, Stefan Viktor Okonek, said in a separate interview that he was brought by his captors to a 3 metre by 5 metre pit, supposedly, for his execution.

"The Abu Sayyaf told me this is my grave," said Okonek, adding that he was separated from his wife, Henrike Dielen on Monday.

The German couple has been in captivity since April, when they were abducted by the militants from their yacht off the western Philippine province of Palawan.

Okonek said that Abu Sayyaf had already informed him of his fate if the Philippine and German governments failed to satisfy their demands by Friday.