Philippines: Abu Sayyaf Beheads Second Canadian Citizen

Amir Hadi Azmi
Kuala Lumpur
160613-MY-canadian-executed-620.jpg Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses a news conference at the United Nations in New York, April 22, 2016. On Monday, he announced the unconfirmed execution of Canadian citizen Robert Hall by Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern Philippines.

Southern Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf Group militants have apparently executed a second Canadian citizen after a ransom deadline passed, Canada’s prime minister announced Monday.

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

“While Canadian officials are working closely with authorities in the Philippines to formally confirm Mr. Hall’s death, we have compelling reason to believe that reports to this effect are, unfortunately, true,” the prime minister added.

In Jolo, in the southern Philippines, the local police chief told The Philippine Inquirer that police on Monday night found a decapitated head in a plastic bag.

Hall, 50, was executed shortly after the 3 p.m. Monday deadline to pay a ransom of 600 million Philippine pesos (U.S. $13 million) for his release along with two fellow captives, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, 56, and Filipina Marites Flor, 40, Agence France-Presse reported. Their fate is not known.

Second execution since late April

The reported execution came seven weeks after Abu Sayyaf beheaded Canadian hostage John Ridsdel, 68, a former mining executive, on April 25. He was killed five hours after a similar ransom deadline had passed. Ridsdel, Hall, Sekkingstad and Flor were abducted from a resort on Samal Island, in the Philippine province of Davao, in September.

In November, the Islamic militant group beheaded Bernard Then, a Malaysian citizen whom it had abducted from a seaside restaurant in Sabah in May 2015, after ransom talks failed.

Hall’s execution occurred just days after Abu Sayyaf, which is aligned with the extremist group Islamic State (IS), freed four Malaysian sailors held since April 1. Malaysian officials said no ransom was paid, adding that negotiators from Malaysia and the Philippines had secured their freedom on Tuesday after several rounds of negotiations with the militant group.

Previously, Abu Sayyaf released 10 Indonesian sailors on May 1 after holding them for 36 days. The owner of their tugboat had agreed to pay a ransom for their release, but officials have not said if any money was paid to secure their freedom.

One of the freed sailors later told BenarNews that he saw militants carrying sacks which, he believed, contained ransom money for their release.

Trudeau: Canada will not pay ransom

“With the tragic loss of two Canadians, I want to reiterate that terrorist hostage-takings only fuel more violence and instability. Canada will not give into their fear mongering tactics and despicable attitude toward the suffering of others,” the Canadian prime minister said.

“This is precisely why the Government of Canada will not and cannot pay ransoms for hostages to terrorists groups, as doing so would endanger the lives of more Canadians.”

Trudeau also pledged to work with the Philippine government and other allies to bring those responsible for the killings to justice.


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