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Monday, 13 June 2016

Militants execute Canadian hostage

Militants in the southern Philippines on Monday executed a Canadian hostage after ransom was not paid, officials said. The Abu Sayyaf terrorist group killed Robert Hall, 50, after the deadline for ransom payment passed. A spokesman, identified as Abu Raami, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that Hall’s body would be found somewhere in the downtown area of Jolo island, 1,000 kilometres south of Manila. Raami earlier warned that the deadline for the payment of 600 million pesos (13 million dollars) for the freedom of the three hostages would not be extended beyond 3 p.m (0700 GMT) on Monday. In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended the government’s policy of not paying ransom for hostages. Hall was the second Canadian to be executed by the Abu Sayyaf group. “With the tragic loss of two Canadians, I want to reiterate that terrorist hostage-takings only fuel more violence and instability. “This is precisely why the Government of Canada will not and cannot pay ransoms for hostages to terrorist groups, as doing so would endanger the lives of more Canadians,” Trudeau said in a statement. The Philippine Government, which has not officially confirmed Hall’s killing, had promised to rescue the three hostages, who were kidnapped from the southern resort island of Samal in September. Hall was being held with Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipino Marites Flor. A fourth hostage, Canadian John Ridsdel, was executed on April 25 after a ransom deadline passed without payment. Norway condemned “the brutal killing of Canadian citizen Robert Hall” by the militant group, Foreign Minister Borge Brende, said in a statement. Brende said Oslo was continuing “efforts to find a solution for the (two) remaining hostages,” referring to Sekkingstad and Flor. Last week, the Abu Sayyaf militants released four Malaysian tugboat crew members abducted in waters off Tawi-Tawi province, the Philippines’ southernmost province, on April 1. Authorities said they could not confirm if ransom was paid, but the militants had demanded 200 million pesos (4.35 million dollars) for the crew’s release