PH to verify reports of another beheading by Abu Sayyaf

Reuters

Posted at Jun 13 2016 07:57 PM

Authorities in Manila said they are verifying reports that a Canadian national has been executed by Islamic militants in southern Philippines after the ransom deadline passed on Monday.

The group, Abu Sayyaf, gave the Philippine and Canadian governments until 3 p.m. (0700 GMT) on June 13 to pay 300 million pesos ($6.43 million) for the release of each of the captives.

Local media reported that Canadian Robert Hall was beheaded shortly after the deadline expired.

"As of now we don't have any information regarding that incident that's being reported. We will just continue with our support operations, but we will consider that information for further confirmation," said Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Noel Detoyato told journalists in Manila.

Detoyato did not disclose operational details, but reiterated their duty to secure the hostages.

"When our troops are committed to operate, come what, we will just continue our operations. We suffer casualties, we continue operations," Detoyato said.

Hall was among the four victims kidnapped at a resort south of the Philippines in 2015. A Norwegian and a Filipino woman are still being held captive by the al Qaeda-linked militants.

On April 25, Abu Sayyaf beheaded Canadian John Ridsel, a former mining executive after the ransom deadline expired, which Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned as "an act of cold-blooded murder".

Abu Sayyaf has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and is notorious for kidnapping victims for millions of dollars in ransom.