Terrorists from the Abu Sayyaf Philippines-based jihadi group, an affiliate of the Islamic State, have demanded over $60 million dollars for three Western hostages who were kidnapped at the country’s resort island of Samal.
Two Canadians and one Norwegian citizen have been taken into the jungles of the southern Philippines, where the jihadi group maintains its insurgency.
The government of the Philippines has said that it will not capitulate to the demands of the terrorists, as Manilla has a no-ransom policy.
Filipino Army Gen. Alan Arrojado said Wednesday that the government continues its efforts to seek the release of the hostages and secure their freedom, according to the Philippine Star.
In a recent video, the Abu Sayyaf militants took responsibility for the kidnappings, demanding a $21 million dollar ransom for each of the hostages. Speaking under clear duress, one of the Canadian hostages, John Ridsdel, urged Canadian authorities to pay up “as soon as possible or our lives are in great danger.”
“These people are serious and very treacherous,” said Robert Hall, the second Canadian hostage, who was speaking as a man held a machete up to his neck. “Take them seriously. Help us get out of here,” he pleaded with his government.
The Norwegian hostage, Kjartan Sekkingstad, remained silent during the 90-second video.
The video also showcased a fourth hostage, a female Filipino citizen, who is believed to be Hall’s girlfriend. She did not speak in the clip.
The jihadis, sporting automatic weapons, demanded Canada stop its military operations in the Philippines.
“Number one, there must be no military operation, there must be no artillery attack, in all this harmful against us,” a masked jihadi said in a video released last month when the four were first captured. “Once you meet our requirements, then we can talk about negotiation and demand,” he added.
Abu Sayyaf, a former al-Qaeda affiliate, has recently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terror group.
In a 2014 video, Abu Sayyaf chief Isnilon Hapilon pledged to ISIS “caliph” Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, adding, “We will not take any leader other than him unless we see in him any obvious act of disbelief that could be questioned by Allah in the hereafter.”
The group was responsible for the worst terrorist attack in Philippines history, when in 2004 they bombed the Superferry 14 ship, killing over 100 people.