WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Canadian national Robert Hall who has been held hostage in the Philippines was most likely executed on Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement.
“It is with deep sadness that I have reason to believe that a Canadian citizen, Robert Hall, held hostage in the Philippines since September 21, 2015, has been killed by his captors,” Trudeau stated on Monday. “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.”
Canadian media reported earlier in the day that the militants from an al-Qaeda affiliate Abu Sayyaf jihadist group, which is active in the Philippines, killed the Canadian national.
“I want to reiterate that terrorist hostage-takings only fuel more violence and instability,” 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.”
The prime minister stressed that Ottawa is committed to cooperating with the government of the Philippines to bring those responsible for Hall’s death to justice.
In September 2015, Abu Sayyaf fighters kidnapped a group of people, comprising of two Canadians, one Norwegian citizen and a Philippine national. In May, Abu Sayyaf announced it would kill one of the hostages if the group did not receive a multimillion ransom.
Abu Sayyaf, a militant Islamist group based in the southwestern part of the Philippines, is notorious for carrying out kidnappings for ransom, often targeting foreigners and sometimes beheading captives if ransom is not paid. The militants aim to establish an independent Islamic state in the region.
The group was responsible for the Philippines' worst terrorist attack, the bombing of Superferry 14 in 2004, which killed 116 people, including over a dozen of children.