Robert Hall: Canadian hostage beheaded by Abu Sayyaf Islamist group in Philippines

Robert Hall is the second Canadian to be executed by Philippine militant group Abu Sayyaf

Harry Cockburn
Monday 13 June 2016 12:25
Canadian Robert Hall, left, was captured along with John Ridsdel, who was beheaded by Abu Sayyaf in April
Canadian Robert Hall, left, was captured along with John Ridsdel, who was beheaded by Abu Sayyaf in April

A Canadian man being held hostage by Philippine Islamist group Abu Sayyaf has been executed.

The extremist group, which has links to Isis, warned it would kill Robert Hall unless a multi-million dollar ransom was paid.

Mr Hall had been held by the group since 21 September 2015, and was one of four hostages that included fellow Canadian John Ridsdel, who was killed by the group in April.

A military source speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed to Al Jazeera news that Mr Hall had been executed.

“Today Canadian kidnap victim identified as Robert Hall was beheaded by his abductor ... the Abu Sayyaf group,” the source said.

Mr Hall’s beheading follows that of Mr Ridsdel, whose severed head was found on the streets of Samal Island in the southern Philippines on 25 April.

The Canadian men were kidnapped along with Norwegian woman Kjartan Sekkingstad and Mr Hall’s Filipino girlfriend Marites Flor.

Abu Sayyaf had reportedly demanded 300 million pesos (£4.6m) for each of the hostages.

At the time, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged world leaders not to pay ransoms for hostages, saying that doing so “is a significant source of funds for terrorist organizations that then allows them to continue to perpetuate deadly acts of violence against innocents around the world.”

It would also “endanger the lives of every single one of the millions of Canadians who live, work and travel around the globe every single year”, he said.

Abu Sayyaf emerged in 1991 in the southern Philippines and has carried out bombings, assassinations and multiple kidnappings. The group carried out the Philippines’ worst terrorist attack, bombing a ferry in 2004, killing 116 people.

Since 2014, the group has carried out kidnappings and ransoms in support of Isis.

In September 2014, Abu Sayyaf kidnapped two German hostages, demanding Germany “stop supporting America in its killing of our Muslim brothers in Iraq and Syria, especially the mujahideen of the Islamic State.”

The pair, 71-year-old Stefan O and 55-year-old Henrike D, were released the following month after Abu Sayyaf claimed the $5.6m (£3.9m) ransom had been paid.

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