Philippine officials have confirmed the brutal death of Canadian hostage Robert Hall, 50, by Muslim extremists. The Abu Sayyaf militant group linked to al-Qaeda claims responsibility for the beheading. Hall is the second Canadian executed in the Philippines this year. John Ridsdel, a former mining executive, was executed in April.
Robert Hall’s head was found wrapped in a plastic bag outside a Catholic church. Abu Sayyaf had demanded $24.9 million for each of the hostages. As the deadline passed for Hall’s ransom, he was beheaded outside of Jolo Patikul.
In a statement, Philippines President Benigno Aquino said, “We strongly condemn the brutal and senseless murder of Mr Robert Hall, a Canadian national, after being held captive by the Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu for the past nine months.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced the killing of Hall and also the mass shooting in Florida, calling them “vicious acts of hatred and violence,” according to CBC News.
Trudeau continued to say, “It is with great sadness that the flag flies lowered for yet another sad event as well.”
The last known video of Robert hall surfaced in May, showing him with his hands tied behind his back.
In his final statement, Hall said, “It appears my government has abandoned me and my family in this endeavour. 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.”
“Canada does not and will not pay ransom to terrorists, directly or indirectly,” Trudeau stated.
During the G7 summit, he wanted the other leaders to agree with him and not cater to the demands of terrorists.
Abu Sayyaf is a well-known Islamic separatist group in the Philippines. ASG is considered the most violent Islamic separatist groups in the Philippines. They have been involved in the kidnapping and deaths of hundreds of people, according to the National Counterterrorism Center.
ASG was founded by Abdurrajak Janjalani, who was a member of the Moro National Liberation Front and trained in Afghanistan, according to ABC News.
Known for the 2000 Sipadan kidnappings, six extremists from Abu Sayyaf took 21 people from a Malaysian resort hostage. ASG made many demands for the release of the hostages. One hostage that ASG released was Ramzi Yousef, the 1993 World Trade Center bomber.
Abu Sayyaf also carried out Philippines’ worst terrorist attack, bombing a ferry in 2004, resulting in the death of 116 people. ASG had placed an eight-pound explosive on the lower deck of the ferry. As passengers were on board, their fate was sealed.
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson stated that the Canadian Mounties are investigating Hall’s death and will help local authorities in the Philippines.
Paulson said, “[B]ut as you know, it’s a very difficult piece of geography and it’s a very complex and challenging environment,” as reported by IFP Press.
Hall, a retired welder, had been sailing around the world at the time of his abduction. He was kidnapped along with three others while at the beach at the Holiday Oceanview Samal Resort. The Philippines army said “that there were about 30 foreign tourists at the resort at the time of the attack,” via VICE News.
Robert Hall grew up in Canada, ran a welding shop, and was a skilled workman. He also enjoyed acting and flying his private plane. When he retired, he sold everything he owned and bought a yacht so that he could sail around the world.
With Robert hall’s fate confirmed, Hall’s family and Canada are in a state of mourning.
[Photo by Bullit Marquez/AP Images]