Daesh-linked militants in Philippines beheaded Canadian despite ransom offer

Published April 27th, 2016 - 08:00 GMT
A screenshot of John Ridsdel, beheaded by Daesh-afiliated militants in the Philippines. (AFP/File)
A screenshot of John Ridsdel, beheaded by Daesh-afiliated militants in the Philippines. (AFP/File)

A Philippine national newspaper has claimed that friends and family of a foreign hostage beheaded by a Daesh-linked group had prepared a cash offering to placate his kidnappers, but it was turned down on the day of his execution as it failed to match their demands.

As security forces announced further efforts to neutralize the Abu Sayyaf and rescue remaining hostages Wednesday, the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted a source as saying 20 million pesos ($427,000) was offered to stop 68-year-old Canadian John Ridsdel being killed Monday, but the militants stuck with their initial demand.

"They turned it down, they wanted 300 million pesos."

Late Monday, the police chief of Sulu's capital Jolo, Supt. Junpikar Sittin, said two unidentified men on a motorcycle had hurled a bag containing Ridsdel's head at a group of young men about to play basketball.

The Inquirer source said the amount was raised by friends, family and relatives in the Philippines and overseas.

Ridsdel was a retired top executive of Canadian mining firm TVI Inc. which has mining operations locally.

Both Canadian and Philippines governments have said that they would not bow to the kidnappers' demands.

Three of Ridsdel's companions -- fellow Canadian Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipino Maritess Flor -- remain in the custody of the Abu Sayyaf in Jolo.

The paper quoted retired Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Cayton -- "a friend of Ridsdel's" employed by TVI -- as saying that he had waited for developments on the negotiations Monday and decided to take a boat to Jolo.

En route, the Inquirer said Cayton heard news of the beheading, and was presented with images of the bag's contents.

“I saw the pictures, his eyes were wide open, it’s an indication that he was executed while conscious, alive, and I cannot imagine the horror and pain for the family,” Cayton was reported to have said.

In separate statements, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines have said that combat operations were ongoing "to neutralize these lawless elements".

"The full force of the law will be used to bring these criminals to justice," PNP Director General Ricardo Marquez told reporters in Manila.

The Canadian and the three other hostages were seized from a marina near Mindanao's major coastal commercial center of Davao on Sept. 21.

A video showing the trio held in a Jolo jungle setting appeared online six weeks later, in which 1 billion pesos ($21 million) was demanded for each of the foreigners, but it was lowered to P300 million pesos ($6 million) after the deadline was moved from April 8 to 25.

The three foreigners were seen to beg for their lives on camera, and similar subsequent videos showed them looking increasingly frail.

In the most recent video, Ridsdel said his captors would kill him April 25 if the ransom of 300 million pesos was not paid.

By Roy Ramos

© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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