Abu Sayyaf may behead Westerners today if ransom not paid

Abu-sayyaf2PETALING JAYA: The Abu Sayyaf rebel group has warned they will start beheading their Western captives if the ransom they are demanding is not paid up by 3pm today.

With a machete at one of their necks and assault weapons aimed at their backs, the two Canadians and one Norwegian, looking gaunt from their seven-month ordeal, appealed to their families and respective governments via video to pay their captors a £4.5 million ransom in exchange for their lives, a report in UK’s The Telegraph said.

The three, including a Filipina were kidnapped last year in September in the southern Philippines by the Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic rebel group loyal to Islamic State (IS).

The video was released on April 15 and was apparently the “final warning” and the last of three other videos, the first calling for an end to Philippine military operations in the region, with the other videos demanding the ransom.

The three in the video are Canadians John, Risdel, 68 and Robert Hall, 50 as well as Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, 56. A fourth, not in the video, but kidnapped last year is Filipina Tess Flor, 48.

The four were grabbed from their boats in a raid on the Holiday Oceanview Marina in Mindanao.

The Telegraph said the rebels had also threatened to behead other Western captives in the past, but released them after the ransoms were reportedly paid.

Malaysian Bernard Then Ted Fen was beheaded in November last year after negotiations for a ransom could not be met and two Filipinos were also beheaded as recently as this month.