Canadian Hostages Snatched From Philippine Resort Plead for Lives in Video

In the video, Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall beg the Canadian and Filipino governments to stop military operations and to negotiate with their captors.
October 13, 2015, 9:00pm
Screen grab of video.

Two Canadians are shown pleading for their lives in a new hostage video that was reportedly released by IS-affiliated Filipino group Abu Sayyaf.

In the video, Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall beg the Canadian government to work with the Filipino government to bring a halt to military operations and to negotiate with their captors.

A Norwegian man Kjartan Sekkinstad and a Filipino woman the AP identified as Teresita Flor were also captured in a raid of the luxury Holiday Oceanview Marina on Samal Island in the Philippines on September 21.

Masked men hold assault rifles to the heads of the four hostages as the two Canadians speak to the camera. One man, his face uncovered, holds the top of Ridsdel's head with one hand and a knife near his neck with the other. ISIS-style banners appear in the background.

The camera zooms in on Hall, who says, "To my family and friends, I'm OK, but I'm in grave danger. I encourage you please to 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's people who can find a way to do this. Please, please help us."

Ridsdel, a former journalist, asks the Canadian and Filipino governments to stop their military operations, including artillery fire that came near them, and flights overhead. "Please stop all of these operations so that negotiations can start about, with the, about their demands," he says to the camera.

A man with sunglasses over his scarf-covered head then says, "I deliver a message to the Canadian government and to the Philippine government: we want your cooperation with us, and to meet all the requirements. Number one there must be no military operation, there must be no artillery attack, in all this is harmful against us. Once you meet our requirements, then we can talk about negotiation and demand."

The armed group then chants, "God is great," in Arabic.

Abu Sayyaf is on Canada's list of terrorist groups, the National Post reported. The Globe and Mail described them as an al-Qaeda-linked group that recently pledged allegiance to the so-called Islamic State.

Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs has been slim on details. The agency told the National Post it knew of the hostage situation and was "pursuing all appropriate channels to seek further information." The department wouldn't comment further, saying it could compromise the safety of Canadians abroad.