CANADIAN Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday issued statements holding the extremist group Abu Sayyaf responsible for the beheading of Robert Hall in Sulu on Monday even as he reiterated his government’s firm stand against ransom payments.
Trudeau said he and President Aquino spoke and the Philippine government extended its condolences to the slain Canadian’s family and to the Canadian people.
Trudeau stated: “The vicious and brutal actions of the hostage-takers have led to a needless death.
“Canada holds the terrorist group who took him hostage fully responsible for this cold-blooded and senseless murder.”
Hall was the second Canadian hostage killed by the Abu Sayyaf this year. The first was John Ridsdel who was killed in April 25.
Trudeau said despite the two losses, his government remained unfazed and would not give in to demands for ransom payments.
He stated: “With the tragic loss of two Canadians, I want to reiterate that terrorist hostage-takings only fuel more violence and instability. Canada will not give into their fear mongering tactics and despicable attitude toward the suffering of others.
“This is precisely why the Government of Canada will not and cannot pay ransoms for hostages to terrorists groups, as doing so would endanger the lives of more Canadians.”
Trudeau said Canada, the Philippines and international partners would work together to pursue those responsible for the heinous acts and bring them to justice, however long it takes.
He then condoled with Hall’s relatives and friends. “They have suffered a terrible loss, and this is a devastating moment for them. Our thoughts are with them as they mourn this tragedy.”
Trudeau appealed to media respect their privacy, and allow them time to come to terms with their loss.
Hall was kidnapped in September along with three others.
His killing came after the 3 pm deadline for the payment of a P600-million ransom, security sources told foreign and local news organizations.
Kidnapped with Hall from a resort in Samal Island were his Filipino partner Marites Flor, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Ridsdel who was killed earlier.
They were brought to Sulu, and Ridsdel, a former mining executive, was beheaded on April 25 after a ransom deadline lapsed.
National Police spokesman Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said the Sulu Police Office first confirmed that around 9 pm on Monday, the head of a Caucasian-looking person was recovered beside Mt. Carmel Cathedral, Sanchez St., Barangay Walled, Jolo in Sulu. The head was placed inside a plastic bag after receiving information from a concerned citizen.
The head was turned over to Trauma Station Hospital, Kampo Heneral Teodolo Bautista (KHTB) for proper disposition.
“This type of execution by evil groups on innocent people is very unfortunate, and deserves the condemnation of civil society and every peace-loving citizen,” he said. (with reports from mindanews and pna)