By Harriet Alexander, New York and Philip Sherwell, asia editor (The Telegraph)
A group of Islamist terrorists have killed a Canadian businessman in the Philippines after a deadline to pay a ransom expired.
John Ridsdel, a 68-year-old semi-retired mining consultant, lived in the Philippines and was seized in September with three others in Mindanao.
On Monday Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, confirmed Mr Ridsdel’s death.
A severed head was found on a remote Philippine island, hours after a ransom deadline issued by terrorist group Abu Sayyaf expired. The Philippine army has not confirmed if it belonged to one of the captives.
Abu Sayyaf pledged allegiance first to al-Qaeda and now Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil). They set a deadline of 3pm on Monday for ransoms of £4.5 million to be paid for the other two Westerners – Robert Hall, a 50-year-old Canadian, and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, 56.
The fate of the third person seized with them from their boat in a marina, Tess Flor, a 48-year-old Filipina, is unknown.
Mr Trudeau described Mr Ridsdel’s death as “an act of cold blooded murder.”
“I am outraged by the news that a Canadian citizen held hostage has been killed,” he said.
On April 15 Abu Sayyaf had released a video demanding payment of the ransom, which they said was the “final absolute warning”.
The group has made similar threats to kill Western captives in the past, but released them after ransoms were reportedly paid. But it has also beheaded local captives – most recently two Filipinos this month and a Malaysian hostage in November.
They are believed to be currently holding over a dozen people, including citizens of Indonesia and the Netherlands.
Source: The Telegraph