A Canadian hostage killed in the Philippines by Islamic State militants has been the subject of outpourings of grief and sympathy from friends, media, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Hostage John Ridsdel was beheaded by Islamic State militant group Abu Sayyaf in what Trudeau called “an act of cold-blooded murder,” having been one of four people taken hostage last September in the Philippines.
The family of the Canadian hostage killed made a statement to the public after hearing of his murder in the Philippines, reports Calgary News. Ridsdel’s family said that they had done everything within their power to bring him home, but the ransom amounts being asked to free their highest profile hostage were simply too high.
“Our family is devastated at the loss of our father and brother John Ridsdel, whose life was tragically cut short by this senseless act of violence,” begins the statement about the murdered hostage. “John was a kind and gregarious person who touched everyone he knew with his enthusiasm and generosity.”
“He loved life and lived it to the fullest with his family and friends at the centre. He was loved by all his friends and adored by his daughters, sister and extended family.”
Calgary News went on to say that the Canadian hostage killed in the Philippines by Islamic State militants had released a video on April 15 of Ridsdel and another hostage, Hall, asking the Canadian government to pay their ransom. Each hostage warned Canadian officials that they would be killed by the Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf militants if their ransoms — $8 million each — were not paid by Monday at 3 p.m.
The tragic incident in which the Canadian hostage was killed in the Philippines was confirmed initially by local authorities, who found a severed head in a plastic bag on a street in Jolo, Philippines, on Monday.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a responding statement from the Kananaskis saying that the safety of Canadians is a top priority, and he vowed that the government would work with the Philippines and other allies to apprehend those responsible for the taking and execution of a hostage.
“This was an act of cold-blooded murder and responsibility rests solely with the terrorist group that took him hostage,” said Trudeau.
According to CNN, Philippines security forces have vowed that “the full force of the law will be used to bring these criminals to justice,” and that their utmost efforts would be made to punish those involved in the beheading of the Canadian hostage.
“There will be no let up in the determined efforts… to neutralize these lawless elements and thwart further threats to peace and security,” said the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police’s joint statement on Monday.
Ridsdel had worked as a reporter for the Calgary Herald and CBC before retiring from TVI Pacific to tour the world. His adventurous spirit and vivacity were the subject of many outpourings of sympathy and grief from friends and family of the Canadian hostage killed by Islamic State militants in the Philippines.
Tragic news to hear that former Calgary Herald colleague John Ridsdel was beheaded by Philippine militants. Superb reporter in the '80s.— Don Martin (@DonMartinCTV) April 25, 2016
Former Canadian MP and friend of the Canadian hostage killed in the Philippines by Islamic State militants, Bob Rae, told CNN that John Ridsdel was “a very vital and engaging guy… who was very adventurous, [and] his career path was unique to him.”
CNN reports that Samal Island, where Ridsdel and three others were abducted and taken hostage on September 21 last year from their resort, is home to Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf.
“This part of the southern Philippines is home to Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic militant group that’s been linked to Al Qaeda and ISIS. The separatist group has at times preyed on foreigners in recent years, taking them hostage to further its aims,” reports CNN.
Norwegian foreign minister Borge Brende said that continuing efforts would be made to resolve the situation in the Philippines and determine the fate of the other hostages — two Canadian, one Norwegian.
The family of the Canadian hostage killed in the Philippines by Islamic State militants concluded their heartfelt statement with a raw sentiment of love.
“He will be sorely missed for all our days to come.”
[Photo by Bullit Marquez/AP Images]