Philippine militants accused of beheading tourists surrender

Philippine security officials say two long-wanted Abu Sayyaf militant commanders accused of beheading two kidnapped Canadian tourists and a German have surrendered

Philippines Beheadings
Philippines Beheadings

Two long-wanted Abu Sayyaf militant commanders accused of beheading two kidnapped Canadian tourists and a German in the southern Philippines have surrendered to authorities, officials said Friday.

Almujer Yadah and Bensito Quitino gave themselves up to military officials in Jolo town in southern Sulu province and surrendered their assault rifles, Sulu military commander Maj. Gen. Ignatius Patrimonio and other security officials said. The officials did not provide details of how and when the surrenders were arranged.

The two were briefly presented in a news conference in an army camp in Jolo and later turned over to police.

Sulu provincial police chief Col. Jaime Mojica said they will face multiple murder and other criminal charges, including violation of the country’s anti-terrorism law. The militants are accused of beheading the hostages after failing to obtain large ransoms they had demanded.

They also were involved in other ransom kidnappings and bomb attacks, Mojica said.

Canadian tourists Robert Hall and John Ridsdel were abducted by Abu Sayyaf gunmen from a marina on southern Samal island along with a Norwegian and a Filipino in September 2015 and taken to jungle camps in Sulu.

Hall and Ridsdel were beheaded by the militants months later after the deadline for payment of the ransoms passed. Videos released by the militants showed the victims being brutally killed in front of an Islamic State group-style black flag. The Norwegian and Filipino hostages were eventually freed.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at the time that he was horrified by the killings and affirmed Canada’s refusal to “pay ransoms for hostages to terrorist groups, as doing so would endanger the lives of more Canadians.” He said Canada was working with the Philippine government “to pursue those responsible for these heinous acts and bring them to justice, however long it takes.”

Other key suspects in the kidnappings and killings of Hall and Ridsdel were killed earlier in clashes with Philippine forces.

Mojica said the two militants were also involved in the 2017 beheading in Sulu of German hostage Jurgen Gustav Kantner. Abu Sayyaf gunmen seized Kantner at gunpoint and killed a woman sailing with him off neighboring Malaysia’s Sabah state. Villagers later found a dead woman on a yacht with a German flag off Sulu’s Laparan Island.

The United States and the Philippines have labeled the Abu Sayyaf a terrorist organization for kidnappings, beheadings and bombings. The small but brutal group emerged in the early 1990s as an extremist offshoot of a decades-long Muslim separatist rebellion in the southern Philippines, the homeland of minority Muslims in the largely Roman Catholic nation.

The Abu Sayyaf has been weakened considerably by decades of military offensives, surrenders and infighting, and is currently estimated by the military to have less than 200 armed fighters, but remains a national security threat.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in