Sunday 23 October 2016

Canadian hostage murdered by militants

Manuel Mogato Manila

Published 26/04/2016 | 02:30

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau condemned the beheading
Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau condemned the beheading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday condemned the execution of a Canadian hostage by Abu Sayyaf militants in the Philippines, calling it "an act of cold-blooded murder."

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John Ridsdel (68) a former mining executive, was captured by Islamist militants along with three other people in September 2015 while on vacation on a Philippine island.

The Philippine army said a severed head was found on a remote island yesterday, five hours after the expiry of a ransom deadline set by militants, who had threatened to execute one of the four captives.

"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," Mr Trudeau said.

Mr Trudeau declined to respond when asked whether the Canadian government had tried to negotiate with the captors or pay a ransom, or whether it was trying to secure the release of the other Canadian being held, Robert Hall.

The captives included Mr Ridsdel and Mr Hall, along with one Norwegian man and a Filipino woman, who had appealed in a video for their families and governments to secure their release.

Residents found the head in the centre of Jolo town. An army spokesman said two men on a motorcycle were seen dropping a plastic bag containing the severed head.

A Philippine army spokesman said al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militants had threatened to behead one of four captives yesterday if the 300 million pesos (€5.7m) ransom for each of them was not paid by 3pm local time.

Irish Independent

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