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Monday, May 16, 2016

Abu Sayyaf sets ransom deadline on June 13

The Philippine terror group Abu Sayyaf has threatened to execute one of two foreign hostages on June 13 unless a ransom worth 600 million pesos ($17.7 million) is paid.

Canadian Robert Hall and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad who were abducted in September from a luxury resort in the Mindanao region. Last month Abu Sayyaf militants beheaded John Ridsdel, a Canadian kidnapped in the same raid.

"I appeal to my government and the Philippine government, as I have appealed before, for help," Hall said in a new video released on May 13 and posted on SITE, a US research group that tracks jihadist sites.

A four-decade Muslim insurgency in the southern province of Mindanao has left as many as 200,000 people dead. Kidnappers in the region, including the Abu Sayyaf, often take hostages for ransom to finance their operations.

An English statement superimposed on the video says that "if our RANSOM Demand worth 6 hundred million pesos is not given. We will behead another Foreign Hostage on JUNE 13 (Monday) at exactly 3 p.m."

An Australian former hostage, Warren Rodwell, previously told Fairfax Media Abu Sayyaf is a message should now be conveyed to the captors telling them the families of the other hostages are prepared to negotiate paying for "board and lodging".

Mr Rodwell, whose family paid a $93,000 for his release in 2013, said the military had little choice but to hunt the kidnappers, despite the increased risk to the hostages. - Bloomberg

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