Friday, April 15, 2016

Abu Sayyaf sets new deadline for Samal captives

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Apr 15): Abu Sayyaf sets new deadline for Samal captives

The Abu Sayyaf Group, which has pledged alliance to the Islamic State, has set a new deadline for the two Canadians and one Norwegian they abducted on Samal Island in September, according to a video released on Friday.

The militants have also lowered their demand to P300 million each instead of P1 billion for the hostages.

The original deadline was on April 8 but the Abu Sayyaf moved it to April 25.

“This is already and ultimate (sic). Once you don’t meet the demand, we will certainly behead one from among these four,” one of the gunmen standing behind the hostages said.

In the nearly two-minute video, Canadians John Ridsel and Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Filipina Marites Flor, were flanked by the gunmen.

“If demand is not met by April 25, I will be executed at 3 p.m. that day,” said Sekkingstad, as his head was held by a blade-wielding gunman.

The captive said they were being held in Sulu Island.

Ridsel also expressed the same appeal: “We were told that this is the absolute final warning. This is an urgent to governments and families. If 300 million is not paid for me by 3 p.m. on April 25 they will behead me,” he said.

Hall issued the same sentiment: “I am told to tell you that my ransom is P300 million. I appeal to my family, Philippine and Canadian government whom I know has the capacity to get us out of here,” he said.

Military officials were unavailable for comment as of posting time.

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