Philippine officials confirm Canadian hostage was beheaded
Philippine officials today confirmed that Abu Sayyaf militants beheaded a Canadian man.
Manila: Philippine officials today confirmed 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 were not met.
The hostage, Robert Hall, was abducted from a marina last September along with another Canadian, a Norwegian and a Filipino. The other Canadian, former mining executive John Ridsdel, was beheaded in April.
Presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma condemned "the brutal and senseless murder" of Hall. He had been held by the Abu Sayyaf in the jungles of southern Sulu province for nine months.
"This latest heinous crime serves to strengthen our government's resolve to put an end to this reign of terror and banditry," he said in a statement.
A militant video obtained by Philippine police officials and seen by The Associated Press showed Hall in an orange shirt and kneeling in front of a black Islamic State-style flag before he was killed in a jungle area.
An Abu Sayyaf deadline for the payment of a large ransom lapsed yesterday and police later found a severed head of a Caucasian man outside a Roman Catholic cathedral in Sulu province's main Jolo town.
In Ottawa, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there was "compelling reason to believe" that Hall had been killed by his captors, and that the Canadian government was working with Philippine authorities to confirm his death.
"We have every reason to believe that the reports are unfortunately true," Trudeau said.
He said he was "horrified" by the killings and reaffirmed Canada's refusal to pay ransoms.
"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 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."
Trudeau recently urged leaders of other members of the Group of Seven rich nations to reiterate their opposition to paying ransoms.
After being abducted from the marina on southern Samal Island last September, the hostages were taken by boat to Sulu, where the Abu Sayyaf has held hostages for years in mountainous jungle camps.
Ridsdel was beheaded on April 25 after a ransom demand of 300 million pesos (USD 6.3 million) was not paid.
Trudeau extended his "heartfelt condolences" to Hall's relatives and friends.