• 2nd Canadian hostage ‘killed’ by Abu Sayyaf

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     Robert Hall

    Robert Hall

    Canadian hostage Robert Hall is believed to have been killed by his Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) captors after the 3 p.m. deadline it set for the payment of ransom lapsed on Monday.

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    Local publications with operations in Jolo, where the hostages were taken, quoted an Abu Sayyaf spokesman as saying they have executed Hall.

    Although the Philippine military has yet to officially confirm the execution, the Canadian government said on Monday it has “compelling reason to believe” that Hall, kidnapped by Islamic militants in the southern Philippines nearly nine months ago, has been killed.

    “It is with deep sadness that I have reason to believe that a Canadian citizen, Robert Hall, held hostage in the Philippines since September 21, 2015, has been killed by his captors,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement.

    “While Canadian officials are working closely with authorities in the Philippines to formally confirm Mr. Hall’s death, we have compelling reason to believe that reports to this effect are, unfortunately, true,” Trudeau said.

    “The vicious and brutal actions of the hostage-takers have led to a needless death. Canada holds the terrorist group who took him hostage fully responsible for this cold-blooded and senseless murder.”

    The fates of the two other people abducted at the resort on Samal island — Hall’s Filipina girlfriend Marites Flor and Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkingstad — were not known.

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), however, would not confirm or deny Hall’s execution.

    The jihadists earlier appeared in a video with Hall and another hostage — Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad to demand a ransom of P600 million. They threatened to kill one of the hostages if no ransom is paid on Monday.

    “If nobody will contact us to arrange our ransom demand or the military conducts an operation, air strikes or artillery attacks or any violations against us, we will hurt and torture the hostages,” the group said.

    Military officials said they are verifying reports that Hall has been killed.

    “I cannot confirm or deny it. We don’t have reports yet coming from our units on the ground,” said Maj. Felimon Tan, spokesman for the AFP Western Mindanao Command.

    Brig. Gen. Retituto Padilla Jr. said they are yet to receive information when asked about Hall’s reported execution.

    The AFP said operations against the Abu Sayyaf will continue.

    Col. Noel Detoyato, a military spokesman, said they received information about Hall’s execution but they have not verified it.

    “Meron nga lumabas na information tungkol sa insidente [We did get information about that incident],” according to Detoyato.

    He said operations against the terror group will continue.

    The military’s Western Mindanao Command under Gen. Mayoralgo dela Cru, however, did not give details about the ongoing operations against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu.

    In April, the ASG beheaded Canadian John Ridsdel, 68, in Sulu after his family failed to pay the P300 million demanded by the rebels.

    Ridsdel, Hall, 50; Sekkingstad, 56, and his Filipina girlfriend, Maritess Flor, were kidnapped by 10 gunmen from the resort island of Samal in Davao del Norte province on September 21 last year.

    President Benigno Aquino 3rd has ordered a massive assault against the jihadist group that has carried out a number of terror attacks.

    Malacañang also on Monday stood firm on the government’s no-ransom policy, expressing optimism that the military will be able to save the remaining Abu Sayyaf hostages.

    “The government has not wavered in its determination to deal with the kidnap-for-ransom problem,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

    “Our focused military and law enforcement operations continue without let-up with the objective of rescuing the hostages and holding their captors accountable for all their crimes,” he added.

    Last month, the Abu Sayyaf released 14 Indonesian hostages.

    It was reported that ransom was paid in exchange for their freedom but authorities would not confirm or deny this.

    In April, the ASG beheaded Canadian John Ridsdel, 68, in Sulu after his family failed to pay the P300 million demanded by the rebels.

    Ridsdel, Hall, 50; Sekkingstad, 56, and his Filipina girlfriend, Maritess Flor, were kidnapped by 10 gunmen from the resort island of Samal in Davao del Norte province on September 21 last year.

    With AFP, Al Jacinto

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    10 Comments

    1. The Philippines government has an obligations and they failed in fulfilling it. WE as tourists, permanent citizens pay taxes and this money should pay for our well being but instead we get no healthcare, no safety, no services and if we ask for someone in the local city halls we are fleeced. Let’s not even mention how the emigration offices treat us. I have been doing projects to help the sick and the poor for over 6 years now and even to this day I have yet to feel safe because foreigners are targets and yes I am a Canadian national. Now I question if I should stay of leave. I don’t feel safe in any ways.

    2. The governments of the kidnapped hostages should use their military to get their people back, counting on the Philippines government to do anything is a waste of time.

      Philippines government will be insulted but so what, this is the government that abandoned 44 of their own police to be massacred after they ran out of ammo.

      • 100% accurate the government of the Philippines is doing the same thing as these criminals anyways. The emigration fees are out of this world. Never have I seen the fleecing of foreigners like I see here in the Philippines and I have been doing relief here for 6 years already.

    3. Emilio Aguinaldo on

      Wonderful! This is just another example of the campaign, “It’s more fun in the Philippines.” Good grief! There is no good news coming from the Philippine Islands lately! First you have a President-elect who lacks decorum, propriety, decency, etiquette, protocol and diplomacy and now this! A bunch of savage radical Muslims who rans around taking hostages and beheading them like the time of Lapu Lapu! I thought Pilipinos were civilized after under Spanish and American legacy? Maybe it’s time to treat all non law abiding, non-peaceful, violent Moros in Mindanao like the Rohingya refugees of Burma! Rohingyas, a group of ethnic Muslim minority who are classified as non citizens of Burma and who are treated as non resident aliens by the Burmese authorities. They are treated as outcast, discriminated, and landless foreigners who ended up becoming refugees without status or country to call home! How would Muslim Pilipinos feel like if they were treated like the Rohingyas by the Déterte regime?

    4. Ignacio Balbutin on

      The action of these bandits will destroy tourism in the country and will surely affect the economy. Who will invest in Mindanao if this trend continue. The government should declare all out war against the bandits just like Joseph Estrada did. Piecemeal attacks won’t deter these bandits

      • It has, the volunteer German Doctors hospitals that have help the Philippines for many years are going back home because they cant’ trust the government anymore to protect them. I had the chance to talk with a few of them and they have confirmed that they will not stay due to the neglect of the government of the Philippines.

      • All smoke in the eyes, Aquino did nothing. HE is guilty of sloth, one of the 7 cardinal sins. HE didn’t care about the victims of Yolanda and he don’t care about this problem either. He’s to busy at brain washing people that he did a good job. Shameful.

    5. If there is ransom paid, how is the monies moved to the Abu Sayaf group? AMLAC must check the transfer. If AMLAC stop the payment, there will never be kidnapping in anyplace. They can kill the hostages for what ? No money , no kidnapping. Any money paid will just make this group stronger, more violent, and will repeat the process till nobody will venture to visit Mindanao. No business, economy will fail, poverty will increase. These are the consequences.