Philippines, Palawan, Rio Tubbataha: German couple abducted from yacht

Reports about this abduction which occurred in April are mixed, however, the main facts as we have interpreted them are outlined below.

Published 9 years ago, updated 4 years ago

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 safe house, 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.

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Philippines: German cruising couple abducted in April in hands of ASG Bandits

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