Jolo hostages beg Philippines military to stop bombings


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 14 Oct 2015

The hostages with the Abu Sayyaf.

PETALING JAYA: Two Canadians and a Norwegian have made a desperate video appeal to the Philippines military to immediately stop bombing the Abu Sayyaf terror group’s hideout in Jolo island where they are being held as hostages.

“We are in grave danger ... please help us,” is their message in the video released by the Abu Sayyaf group which is also holding two Malaysians, Thien Nyuk Fun, 50, and Bernard Then Ted Fen, 39, in the southern Philippines island.

Both Thien and Then who were kidnapped from Ocean King Seafood Restaurant in Sandakan on May 14.

Reports have emerged that the current Philippines military offensive in Jolo, has forced the Abu Sayyaf gunmen to move all the hostages to safer ground in the jungle.

Surrounded by about a dozen masked gunmen with Islamic State (IS) black flags in the backdrop, Canadians Robert Hall, 50, and John Ridsdel, 68, with Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, 56, and Filipina Maritess Flor, 40, appeared forlorn while they spoke at gunpoint.

Hall pleaded for the Canadian government to cooperate with the Philippine authorities to stop the bombings.

"To my family and friends, I'm okay but I'm in grave danger.

"Please contact the Canadian government and ask them, plead with them, to cooperate with the Philippine government to stop the bombings and the problems that are going on here.

"I know there are people that can find a way to do this. Please, please help us," he said.

Sekkingstad, who is the owner of Holiday Oceanview resort in Samal island from where they were kidnapped on Sept 21, pleaded for the governments to meet with the demands of their captives, or else they would possibly be dead.

Ridsdel also urged the Philippine and Canadian government to stop all military operations.

"Please stop all of these operations so that negotiations can start about their demands," he said.

In the video, one of the leaders of the Abu Sayyaf gunmen then delivered a message to the Canadian and Philippine governments with their demands.

"Number one is that there must be no military operations and there must be no artillery attack, and all that is harmful against us," he said in fluent English.

"Once you meet our requirements, then we can talk about negotiations in demand," he added.

He and the other gunmen then held up their weapons and shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) at the end of the two minute 22 second video.

The leader did not identify to which faction of the Abu Sayyaf group they belonged to or give any clue as to where in Jolo the hostages were being hold.


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