After almost a year since the abduction of four people in a resort in Samal island by the Islamic militant group, Abu Sayyaf, a severed head of one of the captives was reportedly found by the Philippine National Police near a cathedral.
DNA tests made in a Canadian forensics lab say it belonged to Canadian Robert Hall who was executed last week.
The Islamic extremist group had been demanding for a ransom of P600-million for their release, but the Philippine government rejected this upon the directive of Canadian Prime Minister Justine Trudeau during their intense negotiations. Before Robert Hall was finally executed last week, the Abu Sayyaf group demanded for $8 million in exchange for their release.
In a press conference in Kananaskis, Alta PM Justin Trudeau made it clear that the Canadian government will not be giving out ransoms either directly or indirectly to terrorists, and that there are clear reasons for this stance.
“First of all, obviously this is a significant source of funds for terrorist organizations that then allows them to continue to perpetuate deadly acts of violence against innocents around the world.”
“But more importantly, paying ransom, for Canadians, would endanger the lives of every single one of the millions of Canadians who live, work and travel around the globe every single year,” The Prime Minister said.
The family of Robert Hall supports the Prime Minister’s decision saying, “Our family, even in our darkest hour, agrees wholeheartedly with Canada’s policy of not paying ransom,” a representative said.
The Philippine military has been following the tracks of the Abu Sayyaf Group in the jungles of Mindanao in Jolo, Sulu but said the remaining two hostages could not yet be found. They spotted two entrenched camps used by the terrorists, but these were already abandoned.
A first hostage, John Ridsel, also a Canadian, was executed last April. Local authorities believe the two remaining hostages Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipino Maritess Flor are still alive.
The pursuit of the Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group continues.
Photo courtesy: Yascine/ Wikimedia commons