Canadian PM vows to find killers, says no-ransom policy not going to change

(From agencies)

The Philippines on Tuesday confirmed the execution of a Canadian, Robert Hall, who had been held hostage by the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Islamist militant group on a remote southern island along with three others since September 2015.

Canadian hostages Robert Hall, left, and John Ridsdel in a still from an undated militant video
Canadian hostages Robert Hall, left, and John Ridsdel in a still from an undated militant video

Another Canadian hostage, former mining executive John Ridsdel, was executed by the group in April. A Norwegian man and a Filipina are still being held captive.

In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, while condemning the act, promised to bring the killers to justice adding paying ransoms is not the policy of the government as it will turn all Canadians visiting Philippines into easy targets of Abu Sayyaf and other terrorist groups.

Philippines President Benigno Aquino too condemned the execution.

“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,” he said.

Hall was kidnapped from Holiday Ocean View Samal Resort at Barangay Camudmud in Samal Island, hundreds of miles east of Jolo.

Abu Sayyaf had demanded a P300 million for the release of the hostages but the Philippine and Canadian governments reaffirmed their no-ransom policy.

Hall’s family had offered $1.4 million for his release but his captors demanded more than $6 million per hostage.

According to reports, Hall was executed soon after the expiry of the 3 pm ransom deadline on Monday in the mountains outside Patikul town.

Philippine Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said the latest execution only strengthens the government’s resolve to wipe out Abu Sayyaf.

There is no word yet on the fate of the two remaining hostages.

Abu Sayyaf indulges in extortions and kidnappings of people, mostly Western tourists and missionaries.

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