Military confirms beheading of Canadian hostage

MANILA — The Western Mindanao Command on Tuesday has confirmed that Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits have beheaded their remaining Canadian hostage Robert Hall on the afternoon of June 13.

Major Filemon Tan, WESMINCOM spokesperson, issued this statement after the head of a Caucasian-looking male, possibly Hall, was discovered by civilians in front of the gate of the Jolo Cathedral around 8:45 p.m.

“(The head) was recovered by the Sulu PNP and brought to Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista (in Jolo),” he added.

Tan said the entire Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) extends its sincerest condolences and commiserate with the family and relatives of the slain kidnap victim.

“Their loss is our loss too. We feel their pain because we also lost soldiers, brothers in arms in trying to rescue them. The brutal murder and inhuman execution of the victim by these evil terrorists shows their true color,” he added.

What the ASG have done is clearly un-Islamic and a violation of the teachings of Mohammad, Tan stressed.

“(These violent acts) do not in any way represent our peaceful Muslim brothers who are true believers of Islam. Their criminal act disregarded even the sacred period of Ramadan. This group showed us their true nature and the evil they truly are,” he pointed out.

Tan said the AFP will work relentlessly with its police counterparts to continue to find, neutralize or arrest and hold these criminals accountable for their crimes.

Hall was beheaded after both the Philippine and Canadian governments ignored the 3 p.m. June 13 deadline of the ASG which stipulated that they will execute one of the hostages if the PHP600 million ransom was not paid.

Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingtad and Filipina Marites Flor, Hall’s girlfriend, and fellow Canadian John Ridsel were snatched by the ASG at a posh resort in Samal Island last Sept. 21.

The ASG beheaded Ridsel last April 25 after the Philippine and Canadian governments refused to pay his PHP300 million ransom. Priam Nepomuceno/PNA/