A second Canadian hostage is feared dead after a ransom for payment on June 13 from the Abu Sayyaf extremist group was not paid. Philippine officials confirmed 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 was denied.
Robert Hall was held hostage since September along with another Canadian, a Norwegian and a Filipino. The other Canadian, former mining executive John Ridsdel, 68, was confirmed as beheaded on April 25 after demands for 300 million pesos ($6.3 million) were not met.
The militant group sent a video to Philippine police showing Hall kneeling down in a forest wearing an orange shirt in front of an “Islamic State-style flag” before he was allegedly killed.
Previously in an Abu Sayyaf video posted on YouTube Hall and the two other hostages, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipino woman Marites Flor, pleaded for Canadian and Philippine officials to save them. Hall spoke in the video raising his arms to show that he was handcuffed.
“We live like this every day, go to bed like this… 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 been murdered,” Hall said.
“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.”
Officials confirmed a severed head of a Caucasian man was found in a plastic bag outside a Roman Catholic cathedral in Sulu province’s main Jolo town, but it is yet to be confirmed as Hall, according to CNN Philippines.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there was “compelling reason to believe” that Hall was beheaded and that the Canadian government is working with Philippine authorities to identify the head.
“We have every reason to believe that the reports are unfortunately true,” Trudeau said, sticking to his refusal to pay the ransom money.
“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 will not turn the Maple Leaf worn with pride by over three million Canadians abroad into targets.
“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 takes.”
Filipino Presidential spokesman, Herminio Coloma, has also condemned the attacks saying there are “brutal and senseless” acts.
“This latest heinous crime serves to strengthen our government’s resolve to put an end to this reign of terror and banditry,” he said about Hall’s death.
Abu Sayyaf is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and the Philippines, and they are known for kidnappings, beheadings, and bombings. The group emerged in the early 1990’s as an extremist offshoot of an established Muslim separatist rebellion and rose in power as previous ransoms were met.
The two Canadian men, along with Flor, and Sekkingstad, were taken in a raid on the Oceanview Resort on Samal Island off the coast of the southern island of Mindanao. They had been living in dire circumstances ever since and suffered beatings and starvation according to The Australian.
Canada is in a state of mourning for the second Canadian hostage feared beheaded and for his family, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
“The Hall family has shown great strength of character in their resilience and are admirable in the face of this terrible situation… This is a grievous loss for them and their country mourns with them.”
[Photo by Site Intelligence Group/YouTube]