The government will continue its quest for the three foreigners and a Filipino who were abducted by gunmen in a resort in Samal Island in southern Philippines last September, a Palace official said Wednesday. This, even as a video of the victims and their captors was posted online, entitled Canadian Hostages Held By Abu Sayyaf, recently demanding for the government to stop the operations against the group.
“Government’s aim is to ensure their safety and secure their release and all actions emanate from this,” Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement.
Authorities have identified the victims as Canadian John Ridsdel, 68; and Robert Hall, 50; resort owner Kjartan Sekkingstad,56, a Norwegian; and Filipino Marites Flor, Hall’s girlfriend. They were kidnapped last September 21.
The victims were shown on the video sitting on the ground and surrounded by at least eight men who are holding high-powered guns, with one also holding a big knife.
The foreigners spoke on the video appealing to the military to stop the operations against the kidnappers. One of the gunmen also spoke, in English, reiterating their demand.
Authorities maintain that they have not determined the group behind the kidnapping nor do they know the whereabouts of the victims.
Army’s 602nd Brigade spokesperson Captain Antonio Bulao was quoted as saying that their operations in Jolo last October 8 was against Abu Sayyaf leader Radullan Sahiron, who is in the US government’s terrorists list.