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Philippines, Palawan, Rio Tubbataha: German couple abducted from yacht - April 2014

By philstar.com, http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/, http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/ — last modified Jun 21, 2016 09:41 PM
Reports about this abudction which occurred in April 2014 are mixed, however the main facts as we have interpreted them are outlined below. See updates and comments at bottom of report from cruisers and subsequent news reports. The couple were finally released in October 2014.

Published: 2014-04-25 23:00:00
Topics: Piracy Reports 2014
Countries: Germany , Malaysia , Philippines

Two German nationals who went missing off Palawan last month, were confirmed to be held captive by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu province, according to a state college professor. Professor Octavio Dinampo of the Mindanao State University (MSU) in Sulu said his informants confirmed the report that the German nationals were being held by the bandits.

Stefan Viktor Okonek, 71, and his female companion, Herike Diesen, 55, were forcibly taken from their yacht at Rio Tubbataha, an hour’s ride from Puerto Princesa in Palawan. MV Catherine, the yacht the Germans used, was found in waters off Bataraza, Palawan, on April 26, 2014.

They were on their way back to Sabah in Malaysia after island-hopping in Mindanao.

The ASG bandits allegedly used a speedboat owned by another ASG leader, Idang Susukan, in snatching the German nationals.

Dinampo said the Germans were not tourists but long-time residents of Palawan. He said according to his informants, the two are now with ASG leader Radulan Sahiron.

Dinampo said the two were initially brought to the ASG stronghold in Sitio Sangay, Barangay Buhanginan in Patikul and were later transported to Barangay Kabbon Takas, also in Patikul.

''They were brought to the mountains where there is a safehouse, away from the military,'' Dinampo said.

Dinampo said the two Germans were made to join European birdwatchers Elwold Horn and Lorenzo Vinciguerra. The two birdwatchers were abducted by the bandit group in Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Tawi on January 31, 2012.

The bandit group was also allegedly behind the abduction of another Chinese national from a resort in Sabah, Malaysia.

Update 18 October 2014

Philippine militants free 2 kidnapped Germans

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