Saturday, October 01, 2016

Philippines: Abu Sayyaf Beheads Another Canadian

Philippines: Abu Sayyaf Beheads Another Canadian

wikipedia/Thomas R. Koeniges

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The Philippines’ Abu Sayyaf group has beheaded another Canadian hostage after its ransom demands were not met, according to media reports.

Canadian citizen Robert Hall was kidnapped in September last year along with three other people by the Abu Sayyaf. On Monday, he was killed as the deadline for the ransom demand expired. An intelligence officer of Joint Task Force Sulu confirmed Hall’s beheading. Abu Sayyaf spokesperson Abu Raami also confirmed the beheading, Rappler in its report stated.

The militant group was demanding Php600 million (AU$17.6 million) as ransom for the three hostages. However, both Philippines and Canadian governments opposed paying the ransom.  Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that it was “likely” that Robert Hall had been beheaded by the militant group which abducted him, reported BBC.

Trudeau in his statement said, “It is with deep sadness that I have reason to believe that a Canadian citizen, Robert Hall, held hostage in the Philippines since September 21, 2015, has been killed by his captors.”

Another Canadian John Ridsdel, Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipina Marites Flor were abducted by the group along with Robert Hall. Six weeks after they were abducted Abu Sayyaf released a video on social media featuring the hostages. In the video, the men are seen begging for their lives. Several other similar videos followed after that.

Crucially, Prime Minister Trudeau is dead set against paying any ransom. A few months back Trudeau, in a press conference made some statements aiming at the terror group.

He stated, “I do … want to make one thing perfectly, crystal clear: Canada does not and will not pay ransom to terrorists, directly or indirectly.”

He argued, “There are very direct and concrete reasons for this. First of all, obviously this is a significant source of funds for terrorist organizations that then allows them to continue to perpetuate deadly acts of violence against innocents around the world.”

Notably, Abu Sayyaf has pledged its allegiance to ISIS, but experts believe that it is more focused on lucrative kidnappings-for-ransom than on setting up a caliphate.