The body of a German woman has been found on an abandoned yacht in the Philippines. The authorities believe her husband has been abducted by Islamic rebels.

The military of the Philippines has reported that the body of a German sailor has been found on board an abandoned yacht in a remote island in the Sulu archipelago.

The authorities say the woman was shot. A shotgun was found lying near to her body.

Her husband, who is also a German national, is missing.

He is believed to have been abducted by Abu Sayyaf rebels.

The group is reported to have made millions from kidnapping foreign nationals and demanding ransoms.

The couple are believed to be Jurgen Kantner and his wife, Sabine, although no formal identification has yet taken place.

A regional military spokesman, Filemon Tan told AFP that the couple’s passports had been found on board the yacht, which has been identified as the Rockall.

The German couple had been previously abducted by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden and held for 52 days in 2008.

Abu Sayyaf is a jihadist group in the southern Philippines It is notorious for kidnapping for ransom, and for attacks on civilians and the army.

In April 2014, the group kidnapped two German sailors, Stefan Okonek and Henrike Dielen.

The pair had been sailing from Palawan to Sabah when they were kidnapped. Their deserted yacht was later found at sea by local fishermen.

The two were later released after a £3.4 million ransom was reportedly paid.

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