Islamist terrorists on a remote Philippines island have again threatened to execute a pair of Canadian men if ransom isn’t paid soon.
The violent Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf wants $110 million in ransom to set Robert Hall, aged 50, and John Ridsdel, 68, free.
In past months, the men have been seen in frightening videos pleading for their lives, machetes at their throats.
“I’m a Canadian citizen. I’m being held hostage by Abu Sayyaf for one billion pesos,” Mr Hall said in a video released in March. “These people are serious and very treacherous. Take them seriously. Help us. Get us out of here.”
Mr Ridsdel served as chief operating officer of TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc., a subsidiary of TVI Pacific, between 2008 and 2011.
He lives in Puerto Galera, Philippines, according to his Facebook page.
The foreign affairs department in Ottawa had said Canadian officials have been in contact with Filipino authorities.
The terror group freed a former Catholic missionary priest on Friday, six months after the Italian man was abducted from his pizza parlour.
Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla told reporters the Italian priest — Rolando del Torchio, 53, was found by police at a seaport on Jolo island, a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf terror band.
“A team of police officers found him about to board a ferry and decided to bring the kidnap victim to a military trauma center,” Mr Padilla said. “He will be taken care of by a military doctor due to poor health.”
He said it was not immediately known if a ransom was paid for Mr del Torchio’s safe release. Some local media said 29 million peso ($820,000) was paid.
Army and police units are on alert on Jolo where security forces are pursuing al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf, a group known for kidnapping, beheading, bombing and extortion in the southern Philippines.
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