Philippines condemns execution of Canadian by al Qaeda-linked group

Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:42pm EDT
 
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By Allison Martell and Manuel Mogato

TORONTO/MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines confirmed on Tuesday the execution of a Canadian who had been held hostage by the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Islamist militant group on a remote southern island with three other people since September 2015.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in Toronto on Monday that it appeared the second execution of a Canadian hostage by Abu Sayyaf in recent months had taken place.

That was later confirmed in Manila.

"We strongly condemn the brutal and senseless murder of Mr. Robert Hall, a Canadian national, after being held captive by the Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu for the past nine months," outgoing Philippines President Benigno Aquino said in a statement.

A Philippines military spokesman said earlier a severed head had been found near a Catholic cathedral on a remote southern island late on Monday. No identification had been made yet.

Hall was taken captive by the militants with three others from an upscale resort on Samal island, hundreds of miles east of Jolo. Another Canadian who was held captive, former mining executive John Ridsdel, was executed by the group in April.

A Norwegian man and a Filipina are still being held.

Trudeau told reporters that "Canada holds the terrorist group who took Mr. Hall hostage fully responsible for this cold-blooded and senseless murder".   Continued...

 
Hostages Canadian national Robert Hall (R) and Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad (L) are seen in this undated picture released to local media, in Jolo island in southern Philippines. Handout/ via REUTERS