Filipino militia asks $60M to free three foreign hostages

Abu Sayyaf militants demand more than $60 million in ransom for two Canadian and one Norwegian hostages

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

Muslim children hold placards during a rally after the Friday Prayers at the Blue Mosque in the southern Manila suburb of Taguig city Friday April 3, 2009 to condemn the abductions in southern Philippines.

A video released by SITE Intelligence group on Tuesday showed masked Abu Sayyaf militants demanding $21 million for each of the three foreign captives taken hostage on September 21 in the southern resort island of Samal.

Filipino authorities identified the hostages as the Canadian tourists John Ridsdel and Robert Hall as well as the Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkingstad.

In the video in which Canadian tourist John Ridsdel speaks, the militants stated that they will kill the captives if the ransom is not paid.

In the video, John Ridsdel calls on the Canadian Prime Minister to heed the ransom demand saying that their lives are “in great danger."

Robert Hall also says in the video, "I'm a Canadian citizen. I'm being held hostage by Abu Sayyaf for 1 billion pesos. These people are serious and very treacherous. Take them seriously. Help us. Get us out of here."

According to the local media sources, one day after the video emerged Filipino Army Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado said the government has a no-ransom policy, adding that it will not let-up in efforts by armed forces to secure the captives’ freedom.

However, the foreign affairs department in Ottawa stated that they are in contact with Filipino authorities to save the Canadian hostages.

Abu Sayyaf militant group which founded in 1991 is recognised as a terrorist organization by the United States and the Philippines.

The group is accused of abductions, beheadings, extortion and bomb attacks in the Philippines, as three more foreigners including a former Italian Catholic missionary are feared to be in the hands of the group.

On Saturday, a South Korean tourist Hong Nwi-Seong who was abducted by the group was found dead in the Jolo island nine months after his abduction.

In the past, Abu Sayyaf claimed that it got more than $5 million in exchange for two German captives.

TRTWorld and agencies