The Canadian government has just received confirmation that Canadian hostage John Ridsdel has been executed by his captors, a group who has sworn allegiance to ISIS. The 68-year old tourist from Calgary, Alberta was beheaded.
Following the confirmation of Ridsdel execution, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement saying, “Canada condemns without reservation the brutality of the hostage-takers, and this unnecessary death. This was an act of cold-blooded murder and responsibility rests squarely with the terrorist group who took him hostage.”
The terrorist group Abu Sayyaf had taken Ridsdel and three other tourists hostage when they stormed the Holiday Ocean View Samal Resort in the southern Samal Island of the Philippines on September 21, 2015. The three others taken captive include another Canadian Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipino woman Marites Flor.
Abu Sayyaf was formed in 1991 and originally had ties to Al Qaeda. According to Stanford University, the group’s founder Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani even fought alongside Osama bin Laden against the Soviet during its invasion of Afghanistan. Later on, the group swore allegiance to ISIS. However, many believe that the group had vowed to support ISIS only to be able to promote its own interests.
According to a report from Global News, the group then posted a video showing the hostages as they demanded that military operations against Islamist groups in the southern islands of the Philippines be ceased. Moreover, they had also called on the Canadian government to negotiate for the hostages’ freedom.
Later on, another video was released. Here, Hall made an appeal saying, ” I’m a Canadian citizen. I’m being held hostage by Abu Sayyaf for one billion pesos (roughly $21 million).” The demand was made while Ridsdel and Hall were seen with a long knife to their necks. They gave a deadline of one month, saying they will execute the hostages if the ransom is not paid.
A week after the deadline passes, Abu Sayyaf released another video, saying the hostages will be beheaded should the ransom not be paid in the next 10 days. Moreover, the amount was lowered to 300 million pesos each (approximately $6 million).
Today, local police discovered the head of a Caucasian male in a plastic bag that was left along the street by two men on a motorcycle. While on a cabinet retreat in Alberta, Trudeau had confirmed that Ridsdel had been executed.
The condition of the three other hostages is currently unknown at this time. According to Trudeau, “The Government of Canada will not comment or release any information which may compromise ongoing efforts or endanger the safety of the remaining hostages.”