Canadian hostages, machetes to their necks, beg government to pay ransom as execution deadline looms

SHAFAQNA- Philippians kidnappers say they’ll kill a pair of Canadian hostages on April 25 if their ransom demand isn’t met.

In a new video posted on social media Friday, the terrorists demand 300 million pesos — $8.3 million — for each man, down from the figure of a billion pesos each that the militants demanded last year.

Gunmen kidnapped Robert Hall, 50, and John Ridsdel, 68, from the upscale Oceanview resort on Samal island last September.

They are believed to be held in the jungle on Jolo island, a stronghold of the ISIS-linked Abu Sayyaf group, which is known for bombs, beheadings and kidnappings.

In the two-minute video, the captives are seen with machetes held to their necks as they beg for their lives, asking their families and the Canadian government to pay for their release.

“This is already an ultimatum,” the masked militant leader said. “We will certainly behead one of these four,” he added, setting the execution for 3 p.m. on April 25.

There was no explanation why the ransom was reduced or a deadline set.

“My specific appeal is to the Canadian government, who, I know, have the capacity to get us out of here. I’m wondering what they’re waiting for,” Hall says to the camera.

A Norwegian man and a Filipino woman are seen in the video. They were also taken in the raid last September.

The video was the fourth such appeal released by the militants. Last month, they set an April 8 deadline but no ransom was specified.

Security is precarious in the resource-rich south of the largely Christian Philippines, despite a 2014 peace pact between the government and the largest Muslim rebel group that ended 45 years of conflict.

Abu Sayyaf militants are holding other foreigners, including one from the Netherlands, one from Japan, four Malaysians and 10 Indonesian tugboat crew.

On the nearby island of Basilan, government troops are pursuing another faction of Abu Sayyaf rebels, who killed 18 soldiers and wounded more than 50 in an ambush. The military said 28 gunmam, including a Moroccan, were killed.


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