Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement today, June 13, that he has reason to believe that a Canadian citizen, Robert Hall, held hostage in the Philippines since September 21, 2015, has been killed by his captors.
Hall, fellow Canadian John Ridsdel, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Philippines national Marites Flor were snatched from a marina by the Abu Sayyaf group last September.
This tragic incident came less than two months after the brutal killing of Ridsdel.
The militants executed Ridsdel in April. The militants released a video that showed Ridsdel being beheaded.
“While Canadian officials are working closely with authorities in the Philippines to formally confirm Mr. Hall’s death, we have compelling reason to believe that reports to this effect are, unfortunately, true,” Trudeau said in his statement.
“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.
“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,” Trudeau said.
“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.
“We are more committed than ever to working with the Government of the Philippines and international partners to pursue those responsible for these heinous acts and bring them to justice, however long it takes.
“The Government’s top priority, and my own as Prime Minister, is the safety and security of Canadian citizens,” Trudeau said.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Hall.
“They have suffered a terrible loss, and this is a devastating moment for them. Our thoughts are with them as they mourn this tragedy. I would ask that the media respect their privacy, and allow them time to come to terms with their loss,” Trudeau said.
In a statement to Global News, a spokesperson from Global Affairs Canada said, “We are pursuing all appropriate channels to seek further information and are in close contact with Philippines authorities.”
The kidnappers had reportedly previously demanded 300 million pesos ($8.1 million) for each of the foreigners.
In May, a video released by the terrorist group showed Hall calling on the Filipino government to help save him and his two fellow hostages before June 13.
During the G7 summit in May, Trudeau urged fellow Group of Seven leaders to stop paying ransoms for hostages.
In another statement, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at Canada denounced the killing of Hall.
“This is a devastating moment for the family of Mr. Robert Hall and for all Canadians,” said Mr. Lal Khan Malik, national president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at Canada. “The news of killing in the peaceful month of Ramadan is particularly painful for the Muslim Community. The innocent victim and his family are in our heartfelt thoughts and prayers during Ramadan.”
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at prays for the safety of the remaining hostages and hopes the authorities capture those responsible for this brutal act and bring them to justice.