Canada PM condemns cold-blooded murder of hostage in in Philippines

Islamist militants in the Philippines have killed hostage John Ridsdel, the Canadian government has confirmed. The Philippine army said a severed head was found on a remote Philippine island on Monday, five hours after the expiry of a ransom deadline. The army would not immediately comment on whether the head was that of Mr Ridsdel, but his death was later confirmed by Canadian government officials. In a statement, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the killing, describing it as an act of “cold-blooded murder”.

This is such a barbaric act by these people and one would be tempted to think that they should also meet the same fate.

Jolo Mayor Hussin Amin

He said the Canadian government will work with the government of the Philippines to pursue those responsible for this “heinous act”. Mr Ridsdel, a former mining executive, was one of four hostages being held by militants from the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group. Two men on a motorcycle left Ridsdel’s head, placed inside a plastic bag, along a street in Jolo town in Sulu province and then fled, Jolo police chief Supt. Junpikar Sitin said. In militant videos posted online, Ridsdel and fellow Canadian Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipino Marites Flor were shown sitting in a clearing with heavily armed militants standing behind them. In some of the videos, a militant positioned a long knife on Ridsdel’s neck. Two black flags hung in the backdrop of lush foliage.

He could bridge many communities, many people, many situations and circumstances and environments in a very gentle way.

Gerald Thurston, a lifelong friend