Couple Abducted by Pirates—Again

Sabine Merz reportedly killed, Jürgen Kantner seized in Philippines
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2016 10:51 AM CST
Couple Abducted by Pirates—Again
A photo provided by the Philippine military shows the yacht "Rockall," found abandoned off the Sulu Sea.   (WESMINCOM via AP)

A German couple who's spent four decades sailing the world has apparently been abducted by pirates for a second time, with what appears to be a fatal result. Jürgen Kantner and Sabine Merz—who were held by Somali pirates for 52 days in 2008, until a six-figure ransom was reportedly paid—were seized by Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern Philippines on Saturday, the New York Times reports. Merz fired at the militants, and "our men shot back and killed her," an Abu Sayyaf spokesman told the Philippine Daily Inquirer over the phone. A man who identified himself as Kantner then came on the line claiming, "pirates took our boat and they took us." Abu Sayyaf militants also killed two Canadians earlier this year.

The German Foreign Ministry says it's investigating the reports but hasn't confirmed the abduction or Merz's death. However, the Philippine military released a photo of the attacked boat, recovered on Sunday, which shows it to be the same 30-foot yacht, dubbed the Rockall, that was seized by pirates in 2008. A military rep says a woman's naked body was also found on board bearing "gunshot wounds" and signs of a sexual assault. "A shotgun was also recovered beside the woman's body," the rep says. A year after their first abduction, Kantner told the AFP that he would keep sailing, but "I pray to God that pirates won't get me again. Of course, buying a gun is an option." (An American man was held for 18 days by Dolly Parton-loving pirates.)

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