Members of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group in southern Philippines beheaded a Canadian man yesterday after the deadline for 900 million pesos (US$19.5 million) in ransom was not met.
Police recovered the severed head of Canadian national John Ridsdel, which was found dumped in Barangay Walled City on Jolo island, Sulu province on Monday night, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.
Jolo police chief Junpikar Sittin said the head of the “Caucasian-looking” person was discovered in a plastic bag at about 7:35pm on Monday.
“We need to search for the body,” Sittin was quoted saying.
Earlier reports indicated that a Norwegian captive, Kjartan Sekkingstad, was beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf in Sitio Pegeh Mount Dahu, Barangay Langub in Talipao town, but the identity of the deceased was later confirmed to be Ridsdel instead.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the “cold-blooded murder” of the Canadian by the terrorists.
Trudeau confirmed on Monday that the victim was Ridsdel of Calgary, Alberta. He was 68 years old.
Ridsdel was one of four tourists – including Kjartan Sekkingstad, another Canadian Robert Hall, and a Filipino woman – that were kidnapped last September by Abu Sayyaf militants from a marina on southern Samal Island.
The militants had threatened to kill one of the three male hostages if the large ransom was not paid by 3pm Monday local time.
Trudeau said his government will work with the government of the Philippines and international partners to pursue those responsible for this “heinous act.”
Just before the beheading, Philippine officials said government forces were moving to rescue two Canadians and a Norwegian after their Muslim militant captors threatened to behead one of them if the ransom was not paid.
President Benigno Aquino III ordered the military and police to launch the rescue in the south after the threat was issued.
The kidnappers reportedly demanded 300 million pesos (US$6.5 million) for each of the foreigners, who were seized with a Filipino woman by gunmen in September last year from a marina on southern Samal Island.
The hostages were believed to have been taken to Jolo Island in Sulu, a jungle-clad province where the militants are believed to be holding several hostages.