Canada’s Trudeau: “justice, however long it takes”

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 14 June) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is holding the Abu Sayyaf “fully responsible for this cold-blooded and senseless murder” of kidnap victim Robert Hall, whose severed head was found in Jolo Monday night, and vowed to work “with the Philippine government and international partners” to pursue the perpetrators and “bring them to justice, however long it takes.”

“The vicious and brutal actions of the hostage-takers have led to a needless death,” Trudeau said.

Photos of the three foreigners abducted from a resort in Samal, Davao del Norte on Sept. 21. Courtesy of EastMinCom Photos of the three foreigners abducted from a resort in Samal, Davao del Norte on Sept. 21. Courtesy of EastMinCom

Hall was executed by the Abu Sayyaf after the 3 p.m. Monday deadline for payment of ransom lapsed. His severed head was recovered near the Cathedral of the Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo, Sulu Monday evening and was brought to the headquarters of the 2nd Marine Brigade.

Col. Custodio Parcon, 2nd Marine Brigade Commander, could not be reached but sources in the brigade told MindaNews that Hall’s head, wrapped in a bloody rice sack, was delivered to the camp by residents. A bystander at the vicinity where it was found said the sack was thrown from a motorcycle with riders in tandem, at past 8 in the evening.

Hall was reported to have been beheaded at the vicinity of Mount Bunga in Talipao town, a 45-minute drive from Jolo.

Hall was the second Canadian beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf in two months. On April 25, mining executive John Ridsdel, was executed, his severed head also thrown that evening by motorcycle-riding men towards a group of basketball players near the municipal hall.

Hall and Ridsdel were abducted along with Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Hall’s Filipina partner Maritess Flor, from a resort in the Island Garden City of Samal on September 21, 2015.

Justice, however long it takes

“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,” Trudeau said.

On Monday morning, Abu Sayyaf spokesperson Muammar Askali, a.k.a. Abu Rami, sent a warning through local residents that if their 3 p.m. deadline for payment of P600 million peso ransom will not be met, they would behead the remaining three victims from Samal.

There have been no reports of execution of the two other victims.

Last week, on June 8, four Malaysian kidnap victims were released reportedly following the payment by the families of ransom money demanded at 150 million pesos.  The negotiator led the victims to Lagasan, in Parang, Sulu, where a watercraft powered by a two-engine Volvo awaited, and  sped off to the direction of Sabah. They arrived Sandakan at about 7 in the morning of June 9.

Pointless violence and terrorism

In a statement, ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman expressed his “deepest condemnation against this act of pointless violence and terrorism.”

“This is not what Islam stands for, and we refuse to let this turn us against our fellow Filipinos – not at a time when Ramadan teaches us sympathy, compassion, and love,” he said.

“Those who tread the path of violence and claim to do it in the name of Islam are, without question, merely men of sin who distort a faith that stands for peace. They are not our people,” Hataman added.

Hataman explained that their “response to these attacks against our faith can be found in Islam itself: as Muslims we are taught that to kill one man means to kill all of humanity, and to save one man means to save all of humanity. It is then imperative for us work to together as Muslims in making sure that the criminals behind these acts of violence are made accountable to our people in the courts of law, and to save those who might fall into the hands of these men who do nothing but evil.” (Frencie Carreon / MindaNews)