The Philippines on Thursday increased army patrols in the jungles of the southern island of Jolo, where fighters from the Islamic militant group Abu Sayyaf have held two German nationals hostage and have threatened to execute one of them on Friday. The group had demanded a ransom of 250 million pesos ($5.6 million) in September for their freedom.
The group, which has pledged its support for the Islamic State group, has also demanded that Germany withdraw its support for U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria, according to Reuters. A man and a woman are in the captivity of Abu Sayyaf’s fighters, who have threatened to behead the man on Friday. The group has carried out an insurgency for several years in its attempt to carve out an independent Islamist country in the southern Philippines.
"We are ready for all-out law enforcement operations," Colonel Allan Arrojado, commander of army units on Jolo, said according to Reuters, adding: "We will do everything not to endanger their lives.”
Abu Rami, the militant group’s spokesman, reportedly said that the German man will be executed at 3 p.m. local time (3 a.m. EDT) on Friday if the group's demands are not met.