A second video released yesterday showed Abu Sayyaf gunmen with Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, 50; Hall’s Filipina girlfriend Marites Flor, and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad.
It is not clear if the bandits are also demanding another P1 billion for Flor.
The 87-second video was posted on Twitter by Site Intelligence Group, which tracks militant groups.
The bandits were shown holding a bladed weapon to the necks of the foreigners and threatening to harm them if their demands are not met.
“I’m OK for now. I’m hostaged for P1 billion. Please, please pay this group. Take them seriously because they are dangerous. They are serious in their demands,” one of the captives who introduced himself as Sekkingstad said.
“I’m also being held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf group. We’re being ransomed each for P1 billion. I appeal to the Canadian prime minister and the people of Canada to please pay this ransom as soon as possible. Our lives are in great danger,” a man who introduced himself as Ridsdel said.
A man, who identified himself as Hall, said their captors are “serious and very treacherous.”
“Take them seriously. Help us get us out of here,” he said.
A woman, believed to be the Filipina captive, did not speak.
Last month, the militants released a longer video that showed the captives for the first time since they were taken, appealing to the Philippine and Canadian governments to heed the demands of the rebels and halt military operations in Jolo.
Military officials refused to comment on the video.
A security source who spoke on condition of anonymity, however, said the ransom demand was too high.
“We will just continue our operations. The demand is too ambitious. The bandits are just after money,” the source said.
No ransom policy
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte reiterated the government’s no ransom policy.
“The policy of the government does not change. We do not negotiate in instances like this,” Valte said.
“To us, the ransom does not have an impact because we don’t negotiate,” she added.
Armed Forces chief Gen. Hernando Iriberri reminded ground military forces in Sulu to abide by the government’s no-ransom policy and to keep the Abu Sayyaf on the run.
Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado, commander of the Joint Task Group Sulu (JTGS), said Iriberri issued the directive when he reported on the second video.
Arrojado said Iriberri also ordered JTGS forces to ensure the safety of the kidnap victims.
The AFP chief ordered the rotation of military units in combat operations to keep the Abu Sayyaf group on the run.
Military officials said they could not confirm the presence of the victims in Sulu.
Navy Capt. Roy Vincent Trinidad, deputy commander of Task Force Zambasulta, said they were assessing when and where the video was taken and the group holding the victims.
Trinidad said the video could be part of the propaganda of the gunmen.
“We are not pressured, the operation will continue,” he said.
Source: Nov 5 Philstar