MANILA - The Philippines confirmed on Tuesday the execution a Canadian man held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf Islamist militant group on a remote southern island since he was captured with three other people in September 2015.
"We strongly condemn the brutal and senseless murder of Mr. Robert Hall, a Canadian national, after being held captive by the Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu for the past nine months," Philippines President Benigno Aquino said in a statement issued by his communications secretary.
Hall was taken captive with three other people by Abu Sayyaf militants in September 2015 from an upscale resort on Samal island, hundreds of miles east of Jolo.
The bandits initially demanded P1 billion each for the detainees, but it lowered the ransom to P300 million each early this year. Both the Philippine and Canadian government, however, reiterated a policy against paying ransom in these cases.
Intelligence reports said Hall was executed some 15 minutes after the 3 p.m. ransom deadline on Monday in the mountains outside the island's Patikul town.
AFP Western Command spokesperson Major Filemon Tan Jr. said a severed head found Monday near the Jolo Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu "likely" belongs to Hall.
Severed head in Jolo 'likely' belongs to Canadian captive: Army
Abu Sayyaf executed Canadian John Ridsdel, a former mining executive, in April. A Norwegian man and a Filipino woman are still held captive.
READ: Canadian hostage's tropical retirement dream ends in cold blood