Abu Sayyaf beheads Canadian hostage

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ZAMBOANGA CITY: Abu Sayyaf jihadists beheaded a Canadian kidnapped in the southern Philippines after his family failed to pay the huge ransom demanded by the rebel group, military intelligence and police reports said on Tuesday.

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 John Ridsdel

John Ridsdel

John Ridsdel, 68, was beheaded on Monday in the hinterlands of Patikul town in Sulu, on the same day that President Benigno Aquino 3rd ordered the police and military to rescue hostages of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf.

The group is still holding more than a dozen foreign hostages abducted in Tawi-Tawi province and in Sabah in Malaysia.

Intelligence reports said Ridsdel, a former executive of international miner TVI, was killed at 3.45 p.m. by jihadists under Ben Tatoh Sawadjaan in Lower Sinumaan village. His severed head, placed in a plastic bag, was recovered in the town of Jolo later in the day.
Two men on a motorcycle dumped the bag near a group of men playing basketball there.
The head was brought to Zamboanga City.

Ridsdel was snatched in the resort island of Samal in Davao del Norte province on September 21 last year along with fellow Canadian Robert Hall, 50; Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, 56, and his Filipina girlfriend, Maritess Flor.

The Abu Sayyaf demanded as much as P300 million for each of the foreign hostages. It released several videos of Ridsdel, Hall and Sekkingstad appealing to their governments and the Philippines to pay the ransom.

“We’re told that this is the absolute final warning so this is a final urgent appeal to governments, Philippine, Canadian and families. If P300 million is not paid for me by 3 p.m. on April 25th, they will behead me,” Ridsdel said in his last appeal.

The Canadian government condemned the gruesome killing of Ridsdel.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

A statement released by the Canadian Embassy in Manila quoted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as saying he was “outraged” by the “act of cold-blooded murder.”

“Canada condemns without reservation the brutality of the hostage-takers, and this unnecessary death. This was an act of cold-blooded murder and responsibility rests squarely with the terrorist group who took him hostage,” Trudeau said.

He added that the government of Canada will work closely with Philippine officials and international partners to pursue the Abu Sayyaf rebels.

Pursued
Malacañang also on Tuesday ordered the military and police organizations to apply the full force of the law in running after members of the Abu Sayyaf.

“There will be no let-up in the resolute efforts of the joint PNP-AFP [Philippine National Police-Armed Forces of the Philippines] task group in pursuing intensive and wide-ranging military and law enforcement operations to neutralize these lawless elements and thwart further threats to peace and security,” Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement.

A military official said air assault, artillery shelling and ground-troop operations have been prepositioned to crush the Abu Sayyaf Group.

“If ever that is part of the ongoing operations, it is the call of the ground commanders,” said Col. Noel Detoyato, chief of the AFP’s Public Affairs Office.

He was referring to attack helicopters and 105mm howitzers that have been part of the military operations against the terrorist group.

Detoyato said the other hostages are alive based on reports.

“Our ground troops know that, and for their safety they are already included in the planning and execution. Their safety is already included in the planning and execution,” the official added.

The military operations are confined to a specific target in Sulu, said to be the stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf.

The military has been conducting operations against the bandits since September last year.

The AFP and the PNP said in a joint statement that there will be no let-up in their pursuit operations.

“The full force of the law will be used to bring these criminals to justice,” they added.
Vice President Jejomar Binay also condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the beheading of the Canadian.

“I also extend my deepest condolences and sympathies to the family of Mr. Ridsdel and the Canadian people. I share with them their sorrow and pain in this time of grief,” Binay said.

“This barbaric incident should also remind us that as we take decisive action against criminal and bandit groups, we should address the lingering problem of poverty, which has nurtured unrest, disunity and criminality, especially in Mindanao,” he noted.
Act of terrorism

Muslims leaders in Mindanao also condemned the Abu Sayyaf.

Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said Ridsdel’s beheading “is an act against humanity.”

“As a nation, we have to rise against this horrendous act of terrorism. Our faith and our humanity demand that we collectively and strongly condemn this act of terrorism,” Hataman added.

Sulu Vice Governor Abdusakur Tan cited the need for law enforcement agencies to fully address the issue of kidnapping.

Tan said law enforcers should not stop pursuing the bandits until the terrorist group has been neutralized.

WITH MICHAEL JOE T. DELIZO AND JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL

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2 Comments

  1. Isn’t it ironic with all the recent announcements of procured latest war materiel like fighter jets, attack helicopters they cannot contain these savage barbarians? Is the govt really using this or just for show only like escorting the plane where the president is on board? Ano ba talaga kooyah?

  2. Canadian’s beheading not an Islamic State terror act, says former Australian hostage

    One of Australia’s longest-held kidnap victims has dismissed claims the beheading of a Canadian hostage by Islamic militants in the southern Philippines was an act of terrorism.

    Warren Rodwell told Fairfax Media the hostage-takers who recently declared allegiance to Islamic State killed 68 year-old John Ridsdel because a deadline to pay a ransom was not met.

    “After having issued a final ultimatum all credibility would have been lost if the decapitation was not carried out,” said Mr Rodwell, who was held captive for almost 15 months by the Abu Sayyaf, the same group that had been holding Mr Ridsdel and three other hostages captive since September.

    Late last year Abu Sayyaf leaders began declaring their support for Islamic State’s violent caliphate, sparking fears the remote islands of the southern Philippines would become a haven and training ground for a new wave of Islamic extremists.

    The severed head of Mr Ridsdel, a former mining executive, was left in a plastic bag on a street on Jolo island on Monday by two men on a motorcycle, five hours after a deadline passed for $US6.4 million ($8.3 million) to be paid for each of the four hostages.

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the execution, calling it an “act of cold-blooded murder”.

    Mr Rodwell told Fairfax Media the Canadian government, which like Australia has a policy of not paying kidnappers, seemed to stick by the policy “too rigidly” in Mr Ridsdel’s case, and that a message should now be conveyed to the captors telling them the families of the other hostages are prepared to negotiate paying for “board and lodging”.

    Grave fears are held for Canadian Robert Hall, 50, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, 56, and Filipina Maritess Flor, 40.

    The kidnappers posted videos online showing the hostages sitting in a clearing with heavily armed men standing behind them.

    In some videos a long knife was being held at Mr Ridsdel’s neck. Two black flags hung in the backdrop of lush foliage.

    Filipino President Benigno Aquino has ordered intensified military operations across the violence-wracked islands in response to the execution.

    “Maximum efforts are being exerted … to effect the rescue,” he said.

    Mr Rodwell, whose family paid a $93,000 for his release in 2013, said the military had little choice but to hunt the kidnappers, despite the increased risk to the hostages.

    He said this would force the kidnappers to stay on the move.

    “I saw seasoned jungle fighters go crazy under such circumstances,” he said.

    Mr Rodwell, a former Australian soldier, teacher and adventurer, said “things cannot get more desperate” for the hostages, who could starve to death.

    “Some other bandits might also want to steal the victims and get a lesser payment for them,” he said.

    Mr Rodwell advised Australians to stay away from the southern Philippines, where militants under the banner of the Abu Sayyaf have been responsible for a trail of bombings, kidnappings and beheadings since the group was formed by Libya-trained preacher Abdurajak Janjalani in the early 1990s.

    “Names of bandits and groups will change, so any treaties or agreements will be meaningless,” he said.

    Bob East, an expert on the southern Philippines from the University of Southern Queensland, said he did not believe the Abu Sayyaf was under the control of Islamic State.

    “There has been only one appearance of an IS officer, and this was a cameo appearance,” Dr East said. “The Abu Sayyaf now consists of a number of splinter groups, who all claim to be the real Abu Sayyaf.”

    In 2011 an Australian Senate inquiry reinforced the Australian government’s policy not to pay ransoms to kidnappers.

    But the inquiry found “extensive assistance” could be provided to kidnap victims and their families. Mr Rodwell said he had “nothing but praise and respect for the Australian response in my case” …..

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