Militants of the Abu Sayyaf group on Friday released two German hostages held by the al Qaeda-linked Philippine group since April, according to media reports. The two hostages were released after a part of the $5.6 million ransom demanded by the militant group was given to them, according a report from Deutsche Welle.
“We are relieved to confirm that the two Germans are no longer in the hands of their kidnappers. They are being taken care of at the embassy in Manila. We thank the government of the Philippines for their close collaboration, undertaken with full confidence,” a German foreign ministry spokesperson reportedly said.
In addition to the ransom, the Abu Sayyaf group, which has expressed its support for the Islamic State group, had also demanded that Germany stops supporting the United States-led airstrikes on ISIS strongholds in Iraq and Syria.
The released of the two hostages -- Stefan Okonek, 71, and Henrite Dielen, 55, was reportedly accomplished after tense negotiations between the Abu Sayyaf group and an envoy sent to the Philippines by the German government.
The two German nationals were reportedly kidnapped by the Sunni Islamist group from their yacht on April 25 after it broke down near the southern Philippine province of Palawan. The group had earlier threatened to execute one of them on Friday if their demands weren’t met.