Three foreigners abducted by alleged Abu Sayyaf members on Samal Island, Davao del Norte, appeared in another video, calling on authorities to help save their lives by meeting their captors’ demands.
The 1 minute and 38-second video, posted on a Facebook page called “Pamantasan Ng Tawheed At Jihaad Filibin” Thursday morning showed Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, Norweigian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and a woman believed to be Filipina Marites Flor, sitting in a jungle while being surrounded by gunmen.
With one captor holding a bolo against his neck, Ridsdel appealed to the Canadian prime minister and other Canadians to meet the hostage-takers’ demands.
“Please do what’s needed to meet their demands within one month or they will kill me and they will execute us,” he said.
Hall said they are being held by the Abu Sayyaf for an amount of ransom unknown to him, and the Canadian government should act to get them out soon.
“We got one month before this happens,” he said.
Sekkingstad said he and his fellow hostages are being held by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu.
“Follow negotiations and try to meet their demand within 30 days or we are all dead,” he said.
The woman believed to be Flor did not speak in the video, where the faces of almost all captors — including the one that held a bolo against Ridsdel’s neck — were seen.
One hostage-taker, who was wearing a black balaclava and sunglasses, spoke for the gunmen.
“We will give a warning for one month preparation for the family to meet the demand. Once you step… the negotiation within one month starting today, March 8, 2016 until April 8, 2016. Then, if you think that your policy is far better for you than the lives of the captives, certainly we will do something terrible against these captives,” he said.
A previous video clip showing Ridsdel, Hall, Sekkingstad, Flor and their captors appeared in the Internet last November, barely two months after they were seized in Samal September 21.
Sought for comment on the new video, Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said authorities have yet to determine its “authenticity.”
“Dinulog po natin itong material na ito, itong video na ‘to, sa tanggapan ng ating mga forensic experts at antayin po muna natin ang kanilang ilalahad at ang kanilang mahahanap upang ma-authenticate natin nang ganap,” Padilla told reporters.
He admitted that threats made by the hostage-takers are “serious” and said operations were ongoing to rescue the captives.
“‘Yan po ang ating isinasagawa, di po nagbabago ‘yan, at karamihan po ng ating mga naisagawa nang activities ay nakatuon ang pansin sa, hopefully, pag-rescue sa mga nasabing bihag,” Padilla said.
Last month, the head of the police’s anti-kidnapping unit confirmed that Abu Sayyaf members are holding the four people kidnapped in Samal.
Senior Superintendent Roberto Fajardo, director of the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group, also confirmed that members of the al Qaeda-linked group are asking P1 billion in exchange for the captives.
Meanwhile, Padilla called on the public to be more “discerning” on what they see and share on social media.
“Maaaring sila ay nagiging bahagi na ng paninira na ginagawa ng mga grupong ito nang di nila nalalaman… Maging mapanuri at maging maingat sa inyong tinitingnan sa social media para di po kayo nagiging bahagi ng isang propaganda,” he said. (John Roson)
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