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Cdns Kidnapped, Killed in Philippines (split fm Re: Politics in 2016)

Update:  one freed ...
A Filipina held hostage by a notorious kidnapping-for-ransom gang in the strife-torn southern Philippines was released from captivity Friday, police said, a week after her Canadian boyfriend was beheaded by the gunmen.

Marites Flor was among four people abducted nine months ago by Abu Sayyaf Islamic militants based on remote, mountainous islands, who have earned millions of dollars from kidnappings in recent years.

Flor’s partner, Robert Hall, was beheaded after a ransom deadline lapsed last week, following a similar killing of the other Canadian hostage, John Ridsdel, in April.

Flor was freed in Sulu, a southern archipelago known as a hideout of the militants, the local police chief, Wilfredo Cayat, said.

Cayat did not give details on the circumstances of her release except that she was dropped off outside the house of local politician Abdusakur Tan on Jolo, the main island in Sulu.

Another politician from the area, Jesus Dureza, said he negotiated with the kidnappers on behalf of incoming Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte to win Flor’s release ...
The latest ...
Government security forces have recovered the decaying remains of Canadian kidnap victim Robert Hall in the hinterlands of Sulu, a military official said Saturday, July 2.

Major Filemon Tan Jr., spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said the remains of Hall was dug up and recovered around 11:35 a.m. Saturday in the village of Upper Kamuntayan, Talipao in Sulu province.

Tan said members of the Joint Task Group Sulu (JTGS) recovered Hall’s body following information from the residents.

Tan said Hall’s body was taken to the JTGS headquarters in the village of Busbus in Jolo town for documentation and was then turned over to the Scene of the Crime Operatives (Soco) ...
milnews.ca said:
And a bit of closure:  the other one freed:
Ransom-seeking Abu Sayyaf extremists on Saturday freed a Norwegian man kidnapped a year ago in the southern Philippines along with two Canadians who were later beheaded and a Filipino woman who has been released, officials said.

Kjartan Sekkingstad was freed in Patikul town in Sulu province and was eventually secured by rebels from the larger Moro National Liberation Front, which has a signed a peace deal with the government and helped negotiate his release, officials said.

Sekkingstad, held in jungle captivity since being kidnapped last September, was to stay overnight at the house of Moro National Liberation Front chairman Nur Misuari in Sulu and then meet with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday, said Jesus Dureza, who advises Duterte on peace talks with insurgent groups ...
Coming up next - family says they didn't do enough ...
... Bonice Thomas, Robert Hall's sister, wrote a Facebook post, criticizing the Canadian government for not doing more to stop her brother's death.

In an interview with As It Happens host Carol Off, Thomas says she understands the Canadian government's policy of not paying ransom to terrorists. But she says that shouldn't be the end of the conversation.

"I just think we need to have something other than a platitude of 'We won't pay ransom.' We need policy. We need structure to what we will do in a case like this. I strongly believe this is not a lack of ability or means. This is a lack of political will," she says.

She says if the government did do anything behind the scenes to help Hall's case, she didn't hear about it.

"To tell you the truth, I don't know what they did because we weren't informed of a lot of their movements or strategies or anything like that. But I know we had a funeral. So they didn't do all they could've done."


After Ridsdel's death, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it an "act of cold-blooded murder." He vowed to work with the Philippines government to "pursue those responsible for this heinous act and bring them to justice."

Thomas also criticizes former Liberal leader Bob Rae for speaking publicly after Ridsdel's death. Rae was working behind the scenes with Ridsdel's family to try to secure his release. But Thomas says speaking out after his death, while her brother's life hung in the balance, was inappropriate.

"Abu Sayyaf wanted to speak to our government, and our government wasn't speaking. But then an ex-official from our government goes public.  It was a little reckless. It could've easily enraged [Aby Sayyaf]. And it quite probably endangered my brother's life."
A bit more detail on what Canada was doing, via an Access to Information release to VICE News (like most media outlets, they don't share the entire release, so caveat lector):
The day before the deadline a terrorist group had set to behead a Canadian hostage in the Philippines, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the Filipino president and emphasized that his government has a firm policy against paying ransoms.

Details of the 11th hour exchange on April 7 between Trudeau and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III are contained in documents obtained by VICE News through access to information and illustrate how Canadian officials worked behind the scenes to respond to the looming threat.

The kidnapping of the two Canadians, Robert Hall and John Ridsdel, marked one of the first crises of the Trudeau government. The two men, along with a Norwegian man and a Filipino woman, had been kidnapped and held hostage by Islamic State-affiliated Abu Sayyaf in the jungles of the southern Philippines. Ridsdel was executed on April 25, while Hall was killed on June 13.

According to emails regarding the call between the two leaders, Trudeau “expressed appreciation for efforts to date, that threat was credible, and that we have a firm no-ransom policy.”

While that policy may have been “firm,” Trudeau had yet to publicly acknowledge that Canada was refusing to pay the hostage-takers. It was only after Ridsdel was killed on April 25 that Trudeau publicly emphasized that policy.

Talking points provided to Trudeau before the call recommended he emphasize that the Philippines is Canada’s closest partner in Southeast Asia, thank the president’s support for Canada’s bid to join the East Asia Summit, his commitment to ending the insurgency in the southern Philippines and to countering terrorism ...
More detail on what the government was (and wasn't) doing behind the scenes ...
On Nov. 3, 2015, the day before newly elected prime minister Justin Trudeau was set to name his cabinet, one of the most gruesome challenges of his leadership and his government made itself known.

A terrorist organization half a world away was threatening to kill two Canadians.

In a video shot on Jolo Island in the Philippines’ Sulu Province and posted to Twitter, a man named John Ridsdel addressed the camera ...
... with some possible solutions:
The government is facing calls to review its approach to supporting families of Canadians kidnapped abroad and address alleged shortcomings in its response to the cases of two men abducted in the Philippines in 2015.

Among the recommendations is establishing a U.S.-style "fusion cell" that would improve co-ordination between government departments in the hopes of resolving hostage situations.

"Every Western country is moving towards a fusion cell approach," says Lee Humphrey, a former Canadian soldier who now works as an international security consultant.

He believes Canada hasn't done enough to adapt to an increase in international kidnappings.

( ... )

A senior government source told CBC News the government is currently completing an analysis of the Hall and Ridsdel cases, which includes interviewing family members ...
Interestingly phrased - highlights mine ...
For 266 hellish nights in the clutches of the Abu Sayyaf Group, Robert Hall held out hope that Canadian soldiers were coming to the rescue.

Hall, 66, had an engineer’s mind. He was a problem-solver. He understood this was a problem for the best of the best.

The Canadians would sweep into the Philippine jungle after dark, Hall assured his fiancée and fellow captive Marites Flor. And when they come for one, they will come for all — Hall, Flor, fellow Canadian John Ridsdel and Norwegian hostage Kjartan Sekkingstad. They all had to be alert. Always. Tonight. Tomorrow.

“Every single night, Robert told me, ‘Tess, stay close. Be prepared. We have to be ready for the special forces,’” says Flor, who was dumped from a Jeep and staggered to freedom 10 days after Hall was executed in June.

Military rescues rarely work — hostages often get killed. Canadian forces cannot act independently in sovereign nations. The killing of Osama bin Laden at Zero Dark Thirty is a Hollywood rarity — and one fraught with problems.

But Hall had reason to believe: his was a family of Canadian military pedigree, from an uncle on the beaches of Normandy to a son who had served in Afghanistan.

Hall would never live to learn the heartbreaking truth: Joint Task Force 2, the jewel of Canada’s special ops command, was in the Philippines, the Star can confirm. But not in a position to strike.

A team arrived within days of the abductions, according to highly placed sources close to JTF2. They spent the next nine months on the ground without ever growing into a full-strength assault team.

The Canadian soldiers were kept on a short leash, never given the green light to team up with their Philippine special forces counterparts. And a Canadian-led rescue was never in the cards.

JTF2 teams have deployed without action before: in Africa seven years ago for kidnapped Canadian diplomats Robert Fowler and Louis Guay, and in Afghanistan for abducted CBC reporter Mellissa Fung. In those cases the hostages came home alive through negotiation.

This time, two Canadians were slain.

And JTF2, which lists hostage rescue among its core competencies, remains a unit never once given the opportunity to put these skills to the test ...
And the key to the story is here:

Hall would never live to learn the heartbreaking truth: Joint Task Force 2, the jewel of Canada’s special ops command, was in the Philippines, the Star can confirm. But not in a position to strike.

A team arrived within days of the abductions, according to highly placed sources close to JTF2. They spent the next nine months on the ground without ever growing into a full-strength assault team.

The Canadian soldiers were kept on a short leash, never given the green light to team up with their Philippine special forces counterparts. And a Canadian-led rescue was never in the cards.

This is about what could have been expected. The Philippine forces and even more so their government would never have ceded sovereignty to a foreign force, especially from a first world country. Moreover the Philippinos would have been familiar with the area of operations and there is no reason to believe that a force of European-stock operators could have been inserted and trained to operate in a hostile environment, let along carry out the operation, without detection.

In another place under different circumstances, perhaps, but not in this case.

A little bit of sensationalism, anyone?
And a little bit of closure ...
Malaysian security forces have killed a key member of a Philippine armed group in a shootout in waters off Sabah in Borneo, according to the Philippine military.

Abu Sayyaf commander Abraham Hamid had led the kidnapping of several foreigners from a tourist resort in the southern Philippines last year, two of whom were later beheaded.

"The death of Hamid is a big blow to the [Abu Sayyaf] as it neutralised one of the notorious bandits and will degrade their capability for spotting and kidnapping victims in the future," said Major Filemon Tan, regional military spokesperson for the Philippines, on Saturday.

Tan said Hamid had also been involved in the kidnapping of four Indonesian crewmen in April.

Two other fighters were killed alongside Hamid in the shootout with Malaysian police in Lahad Datu in eastern Sabah, he said.


In recent months, government forces have been carrying out major operations against the Abu Sayyaf, which beheaded two Canadian hostages after demands for millions of dollars were not met.

The armed group released two others, a Norwegian and Filipina, after ransoms were believed to be paid.

There have been a spate of kidnappings of Malaysian and Indonesian sailors at sea in recent months that have been blamed on the Abu Sayyaf.

While Hamid and two fighters were killed, Sabah security forces have arrested two others, Tan said.

Abdul Rashid Harun, Sabah police chief, told AFP news agency the incident was the Malaysian authorities' first direct confrontation with suspected kidnappers in the waters off eastern Sabah ...
More from Filipino media here, here and here.
jollyjacktar said:
Outstanding.  Hope it was a slow, painful death.
Probably not, but one takes what one can get.
Sounds like the boss has been dealt with as well ...
Soldiers battling Abu Sayyaf in central Philippines are reported to have killed a key commander of the armed group who had been blamed for the beheadings of two Canadians and a German hostage.

Military chief of staff General Eduardo Ano said troops recovered and identified the remains of Moammar Askali, also known as Abu Rami, at the scene of the battle in a coastal village on Bohol island on Tuesday.

Five other Abu Sayyaf members were killed, along with four soldiers and policemen.

Ano said troops took the picture of Askali after his death and that captured Abu Sayyaf fighters identified the the young commander ...
I'll bet some other wannabe has already stepped into this criminal's shoes. There never seems to be a shortage of fanatics when dealing with radical islam.