A Philippines-based Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf have made international headlines with the kidnapping and subsequent murder of Canadian national John Ridsdel (68 yrs), whose remains was found Monday dumped outside city hall on Jolo, a mountainous and jungle-clad island in the far south of the Philippines that is a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf Islamist group.
The victim was among the other three fellow Canadian Robert Hall, Hall’s girlfriend Marites Flor and Norwegian resort manager Kjartan, who were kidnapped 7 months ago at a tourist resort, by the terrorists, demanding the sum of $21 million for their safe release.
A video released by the terrorists six weeks after the abduction, showed their hostages held in a jungle setting, demanding the equivalent of $21 million for the safe release of the foreigners. The men were forced to beg for their lives on camera, and similar videos posted over several months showed the hostages looking so frail.
Days before he was murdered, Ridsdel said in a video that his captors would kill him on April 25 if a ransom of $6.4 million was not paid. Hours after the deadline passed, police in the Philippines said two people on a motorbike dropped the head near city hall on Jolo, which is about 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) from Manila.
A close friend of Ridsdel, Bob Rae, said that “lots of effort” was made to respond to ransom demands but the amounts asked for were too high. Ridsdel had worked as a reporter for The Calgary Herald and CBC and eventually retired from TVI Pacific to tour the world.
The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described Ridsdel murder as, “an act of cold-blooded murder and responsibility rests with the terrorist group who took him hostage.”
Joint statement released by the Armed Forces of the Phillippines and the Philippine National Police said,
“The full force of the law will be used to bring these criminals to justice. There will be no let up in the determined efforts to neutralize these lawless elements and thwart further threats to peace and security.”
Who Are The Abu Sayyaf
Philippine is a Catholic predominant country, but the south of the country has historically had a large Muslim population, and Abu Sayyaf’s stated aim is to establish an independent Islamic state on the southern island of Mindanao.
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According to report, Abu Sayyaf is a violent extremist group who split from established Philippines separatist movement Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in 1991.
This group of terrorists was formed by Islamic fundamentalist Abdurajik Abubakar Janjalani, who trained in the Middle East — and reportedly met with al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. They have been operating in Philippine for 15 years and according to analyses, the terror group has no connection with ISIS.