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German Man Held By Abu Sayyaf A Former Captive Of Somali Pirates

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PETALING JAYA: The 70-year-old German man, who is now in the hands of Abu Sayyaf, had been a captive before when Somali pirates raided his yacht and took him and his wife.

Juegen Kantner and Sabine Merz were steering their yacht, Rockfall, through the dangerous Gulf of Aden in June 2008 when armed pirates captured them and held them captive in their mountain hideout.

During the 52-day hostage ordeal, they were subjected to deprivations and mock executions.

On Sunday, Kantner had sailed through the treacherous Sulu waters in Tawi Tawi and his luck ran out this time in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf gunmen.

Kantner was taken hostage but his woman companion was shot dead. Her body was found in the yacht on Monday.

In the 2008 kidnapping, a German newspaper reported that Kantner was freed after USD$600,000 was paid to the Somalis but Kantner declined to elaborate on the circumstances of his release.

“It was my worst experience ever. It was really painful and they were intimidating us the whole time.

“One day I said to them I hoped a plane would bomb us all to bits, so that we all die together,” Kantner told The Local.

In May 2009, Kantner and his wife returned to Somalia to reclaim their yacht despite being ridiculed by residents in Berbera, a Somali port in pirate-infested Gulf of Aden.

“They think that I’m insane, they call me the crazy white guy or the mad German sailor but they don’t know how important my boat is to me,” he said.

He then claimed that he will start sailing again after he had finished mending his yacht.

Eight years later, Kantner again sailed into troubled waters. The Abu Sayyaf has killed their captives, including Malaysians and foreigners.

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