Canadian hostage John Ridsdel was brutally executed by the terrorist organization Abu Sayyaf. The group who had pledged allegiance to ISIS beheaded the 68-year old and placed his head in a plastic bag that was left along a street in the town of Jolo and Sulu, Philippines. Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau has called Ridsdel’s execution “an act of cold-blooded murder.”
The ordeal for John Ridsdel began in the late evening of September 21, 2015. A group of armed men stormed the Holiday Ocean View Marina resort in Samal Island in the Philippines. In what appeared to be a video (see below) from a security camera, armed men were seen to be crossing the bridge with four hostages, including Ridsdel. One of the hostages tried to argue with an armed man in front of him. The confrontation was brief and they were all led off the bridge.
The other hostages were Canadian Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and a Filipino woman, Marites Flor. After their abduction, all four hostages then appeared in a video (see below) appealing for their rescue. In the video, Ridsdel said, “I confirm we’ve been taken captive from the Oceanview Marina in Samal Island in Davao.” He also appealed to the Philippine and Canadian governments to “stop military operations so that negotiations can start about their (Abu Sayyaf) demands.” One of the armed members of the group also spoke in the video demanding that artillery attacks against them be stopped. He also said, “Once you meet our requirements, then we can talk about negotiations and demands.”
In March, another video (see below) was released by the group. This time, the hostages were aggressively being threatened with a long knife to their necks. Ridsdel’s demeanor has also drastically changed as he pleaded on the video saying, “Please do what’s needed to meet their demands within one month or they will kill me.” Even as Hall spoke, Ridsdel can be heard grunting as Abu Sayyaf militants continued to hold a knife closely to his neck.
According to a report from Global News, Hall had also appeared in an earlier video saying, ” I’m a Canadian citizen. I’m being held hostage by Abu Sayyaf for one billion pesos (approximately $21 million).” When the initial deadline was not met, however, another deadline was set with a lower ransom amount of 300 million pesos per hostage (approximately $6 million).
A severed head was found in the corner of Mayor Salih Yusah and Sari Ahmad Streets in a town in Jolo, Sulu on Monday night. It was found in a plastic bag and was described to be “Caucaisan-looking” by the Jolo Police Chief Insp Junpikar Sittin. Canadian Prime Minister would later confirm it as Ridsdel.
According to report from the Financial Post, Ridsdel was a former chief operating officer for TVI Resource Development (Philippines) Inc., a Filipino Canadian company affiliated with TVI Pacific Inc. that is based in Calgary, Canada. He remained as a consultant for the firm after he resigned. Prior to that, Ridsdel had also worked in the Middle East for Petro-Canada and also worked as a journalist in Alberta for CBC.
Following Ridsdel’s execution, the fate of Hall and Miraflor remains unknown. Meanwhile, according to a report from a local news network Inquirer, Sekkingstad was also beheaded on Monday afternoon. Dr. Raden Ikbala, a physician at the Integrated Provincial Health Office confirmred this. “He was beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf in Sitio Pegeh Mount Dahu, Barangay Langub in Talipao town. It’s confirmed because the head is in the Jolo police station,” he said.