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Philippines Jihadist Group Releases Video of Canadian John Ridsdel’s Beheading

Captive John Ridsdel was beheaded last month after the Canadian government refused to pay a ransom for his release.

by Justin Ling
May 3 2016, 3:05pm

A screenshot of the video that was published on Tuesday

Abu Sayyaf, the Philippines-based jihadist group that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, has released a pair of videos: one, showing the beheading of their Canadian captive John Ridsdel, and a second showing a remaining hostage pleading with Justin Trudeau's government to pay a ransom.

The graphic beheading video shows four militants standing over the Canadian, raising their index finger — a gesture that has become a trademark of IS militants — and crudely slicing through Ridsdel's neck with a machete.

The video showing the living hostages features Robert Hall, the group's second Canadian hostage who, at the behest of his captors, made a direct plea to Prime Minister Trudeau.

"To the Canadian government, I'm told to tell you to meet the demand. I don't know what you're doing, but you're not doing anything for us. John has been sacrificed, his family has been decimated, and I'm not sure why or what you're waiting for," he said, according to a transcript prepared by the SITE Intelligence Group.

Related: 'I Am Outraged," Trudeau Says After Canadian Captive Killed in the Philippines

The video also shows Philippine national Marites Flor and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad.

Both videos were pushed to online channels frequented by IS fighters and sympathizers.

The video of the remaining hostages ends with a threat that, if their ransom is not paid, they will also meet the same fate as Ridsdel.

The graphic beheading video features two of the Abu Sayyaf fighters brandish automatic rifles. Ridsdel's killer is the only one with his face uncovered. He pushes Ridsdel face-down into the grass and slices into the back of his neck. The end of the 50 second video, published Tuesday, ends with his body lying in the grass, as the militants hold his head aloft.

Screencap of the video published on Tuesday.

Ridsdel was murdered late last month. Reports from the Philippine military, reported in local media, said his severed head had been thrown into the street from the back of a motorcycle.

Abu Sayyaf is thought to still be holding 11 captives altogether.

Thus far, Ottawa has stayed largely silent on the kidnapping, telling media that the government "will not comment or release any information which may compromise ongoing efforts or endanger the safety of the remaining hostages." A spokesperson told VICE News that the government was aware of the videos that have been released, but refused to comment further.

Government officials have bristled, however, at the idea that they are negotiating with the captives or contemplating paying the ransom. Providing resources to a listed terrorist entity, which Abu Sayyaf is under Canadian law, is flatly prohibited.

The group released 10 Indonesian captives last week, although it's unclear if that government paid ransom to the jihadist group.