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Monday, May 23, 2016

Canadian hostage appeals to Filipino government in Abu Sayyaf video

In a new video released Sunday by terrorist group Abu Sayyaf,  Canadian Robert Hall called on the Filipino government to help save him and his two fellow hostages before June 13.

Hall was kidnapped in the Philippines last September along with Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, a Filipino woman and fellow Canadian John Ridsdel, who was later killed by the terrorist group.

The kidnappers had reportedly previously demanded 300 million pesos ($8.1 million) for each of the foreigners.

In the video, Hall addresses President-Elect Rodrigo Duterte and says the Filipino government can communicate with his kidnappers through a woman in the Canadian Embassy.

“I came into your beautiful country in good faith and in peace and here I am,” Hall says in the video.

“We hope that you can work on our behalf as soon as possible to get us out of here, and please, the sooner the better.”

Intelligence group SITE confirmed the video was from Abu Sayyaf, and said the terrorist group is describing it as “the ‘final message’ from its three hostages.

In the message, Sekkingstad says the deadline for a negotiation is June 13, 3 p.m.

Last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Ridsdel was executed by Abu Sayyaf militants after being held hostage for seven months.

At the time, Trudeau said the government is working with international allies to bring the terrorist to justice, but also reiterated its stance of not paying ransoms.

“Canada does not and will not pay ransom to terrorists. Directly or indirectly, and there are very direct and clear reasons for this,” Trudeau said.

In the end, Hall had a message for his loved ones.

“I also would like to thank my family and friends for the effort you put in to get me out of here,” he said. ”I know you did everything you can, I truly appreciate it. I’m sorry I got you in this mess.”

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