Stewart Bell | November 3, 2015 10:57 AM ET (National Post) The Abu Sayyaf terrorist group released a video Tuesday demanding more than $100-million for the release of four hostages, including two Canadians, who were kidnapped from a resort in the southern Philippines in September.
The 90-second video obtained by the SITE Intelligence Group showed black-clad gunmen standing over Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, as well Hall’s girlfriend Marites Flor and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad.
“We’re being ransomed for each for one billion pesos. I appeal to the Canadian Prime Minister and the people of Canada, please pay this ransom as soon as possible, or our lives are in great danger,” Ridsdell, 68, said as a man held a machete above his neck.
It was the second video released by the armed Islamists since they kidnapped the four from a marina on Salam Island on Sept. 21. As with the first, this one also featured the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the background.
“I’m a Canadian citizen. I’m being held hostage by Abu Sayyaf for 1-billion pesos,” Hall, 50, said to the camera in the latest video. “These people are serious and very treacherous. Take them seriously. Help us, get us out of here.”
A man standing behind them then said if the demands were not met, “they will be killed by Abu Sayaaf.” The fighters then chant.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said earlier it was “pursuing all appropriate channels to seek further information.” It declined to comment further, saying doing so “may compromise ongoing efforts and risk endangering the safety of Canadian citizens abroad.”
Founded in the 1990s, Abu Sayyaf is a militant Islamist group that wants to impose its version of Islamic law in the southern Philippines, according to the Public Safety Canada website. The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) is on Canada’s list of terrorist entities.
“Ostensibly, the group’s goal is the establishment of an Islamic state governed by sharia law in the south Philippines,” Public Safety says. “In practice, however, the ASG primarily uses terrorism for profit: kidnap-for-ransom, guerrilla warfare, mass-casualty bombings, and beheadings are particularly favored tactics.”