Philippine soldiers believe they have dug up the body of Canadian hostage Robert Hall, who was beheaded by Abu Sayyaf militants last month after a June 13 ransom deadline lapsed.
The Associated Press reports that villagers led the troops to the hinterland near Kamuntayan village, where militants reportedly buried Hall after they killed him. His head was found outside a Roman Catholic cathedral.
Reginal military spokesman Major Filemon Tan said that it was very likely that the body recovered was Hall's, and that the military was awaiting confirmation from police forensic experts, according to AP.
Abu Sayyaf demanded $8.1 million for Hall's release, but Trudeau was also unequivocal that Canada would not pay ransoms for hostages, saying it would only serve to fund terrorism and encourage future hostage-taking worldwide. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the killing "an act of cold-blooded murder."
Abu Sayyaf captured Hall, another Canadian John Ridsdel, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkinstad, and a Filipino woman, Teresita Flor, during a raid on the luxury Holiday Oceanview Marina on Samal Island in the Philippines last September.
The group beheaded Ridsdel on the previously set ransom deadline of April 25. Sekkinstad remains in Abu Sayyaf's custody and Flor was set free.
Abu Sayyaf has more than 400 armed fighters and poses an ongoing threat in the Philippines. It has been blacklisted as a terrorist group for bombings, kidnappings for ransom, beheadings and extortion.
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