Trudeau Outrage at Philippines Murder of Hostage

Trudeau Outrage at Philippines Murder of HostageTrudeau Outrage at Philippines Murder of Hostage

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has condemned the killing of a Canadian hostage kidnapped by militants in the Philippines.

John Ridsdel, 68, was taken from a tourist resort with three others by the Abu Sayyaf group in September 2015.

In November, the militants released a video showing Ridsdel and three other captives, and demanded a ransom of $80 million (£55 million), BBC reported.

On Monday, a severed head was found on remote Jolo, hours after the Abu Sayyaf ransom deadline expired. Local authorities said it belonged to a foreign man but have not confirmed whether it belonged to any of the captives.

Ridsdel was taken to Jolo after being kidnapped from a marina near the city of Davao, along with another Canadian, Robert Hall; a Norwegian, Kjartan Sekkingstad; and a Philippine woman, Marites Flor.

Ridsdel later warned in a video released by the group that he was due to be killed on 25 April if no ransom was paid.

The Canadian government has a policy against paying ransoms, The Globe and Mail cited a government official as saying.

Confirming the death of Ridsdel, Trudeau called it a “heinous act”.

“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,” he said in a statement.

“It’s hard,” a friend of Ridsdel, Bob Rae, told CBC News. “It’s just very hard. I’ve been involved behind the scenes for the last six months trying to find a solution and it’s been very painful.”

A former mining executive, Ridsdel is described by Canadian media as semi-retired. He also worked as a journalist.

Abu Sayyaf was set up in the 1990s with funding from A, and is fighting for an independent province in the Philippines. One of its commanders recently pledged allegiance to the self-styled Islamic State militant group based in Syria and Iraq. Abu Sayyaf is also holding several other foreigners.

Eighteen Philippine soldiers were killed in clashes with the militants on Basilan Island near Jolo island earlier this month.