Philippine officials confirm Canadian hostage was beheaded
14 June 2016, 18:29
Manila – Philippine officials confirmed on Tuesday that Abu Sayyaf
militants beheaded a Canadian man, the second Canadian hostage to be killed in
two months after their demands for a large ransom were not met.
The hostage, Robert Hall, was abducted from a marina last
September along with another Canadian, a Norwegian and a Filipino. The other
Canadian, former mining executive John Ridsdel, was beheaded in April.
Presidential spokesperson Herminio Coloma condemned "the
brutal and senseless murder" of Hall. He had been held by the Abu Sayyaf
in the jungles of southern Sulu province for nine months.
"This latest heinous crime serves to strengthen our
government's resolve to put an end to this reign of terror and banditry,"
he said in a statement.
A militant video obtained by Philippine police officials and seen
by The Associated Press showed Hall in an orange shirt and kneeling in front of
a black Islamic State-style flag before he was killed in a jungle area.
An Abu Sayyaf deadline for the payment of a large ransom lapsed on
Monday and police later found a severed head of a Caucasian man outside a Roman
Catholic cathedral in Sulu province's main Jolo town.
In Ottawa, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there was
"compelling reason to believe" that Hall had been killed by his
captors, and that the Canadian government was working with Philippine
authorities to confirm his death.
"We have every reason to believe that the reports are
unfortunately true," Trudeau said.
He said he was "horrified" by the killings and
reaffirmed Canada's refusal to pay ransoms.
"The government of Canada will not and cannot pay ransoms for
hostages to terrorist groups, as doing so would endanger the lives of more
Canadians," Trudeau said in a statement.
"We are more committed than ever to working with the
government of the Philippines and international partners to pursue those
responsible for these heinous acts and bring them to justice, however long it
Trudeau recently urged leaders of other members of the Group of
Seven rich nations to reiterate their opposition to paying ransoms.
After being abducted from the marina on southern Samal Island last
September, the hostages were taken by boat to Sulu, where the Abu Sayyaf has
held hostages for years in mountainous jungle camps.
Ridsdel was beheaded on April 25 after a ransom demand of 300
million pesos ($6.3m) was not paid.
In an Abu Sayyaf video posted on YouTube after Ridsdel's death,
Hall and the two other hostages, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipino woman
Marites Flor, pleaded to Canadian and Philippine officials to negotiate their
"We live like this every day, go to bed like this," Hall
said, raising his arms to show that he was handcuffed. We have a hundred people
heavily armed around us all the time that dictate to us and talk to us like
children. We've been humiliated in every way possible. One of us has already
Hall spoke later in the video for a second time, sounding resigned
to a tragic fate.
"I would also like to thank my family for the effort they put
in – my family and friends for the effort they put in – to get me out of here.
I know you did everything you can, and I truly appreciate it. I'm sorry I got
you in this mess," he said.
Trudeau extended his "heartfelt condolences" to Hall's
relatives and friends.
The United States and the Philippines have both listed the Abu
Sayyaf as a terrorist organisation for kidnappings, beheadings and bombings.
The group emerged in the early 1990s as an extremist offshoot of a decades-long
Muslim separatist rebellion in the country's south.