Severed head found in Jolo, Sulu

A SEVERED head believed to be that of a Canadian hostage Robert Hall, one of the three remaining captives who were abducted from Ocean View Resort on the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) last September 21 was found in Jolo, Sulu on Monday evening.

This developed after authorities did not heed to the P600 million ransom demanded by the Abu Sayyaf in exchange for the safe release of the three captives.

Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) spokesperson Major Felimon Tan said the severed head was found at around 8:45 p.m. at the vicinity of Jolo Cathedral by civilians in the area and were recovered by the Sulu police.

The severed head was immediately brought to Kuta Heneral Teodolfo Bautista (KHTB) in Jolo, Sulu.

Tan said that the recovery of a severed head only confirms that the Abu Sayyaf group beheaded one of its captives.

But the identity of the victim has yet to be verified.

The recovered severed head was airlifted to Manila early Tuesday morning as it still needs to undergo a DNA test at the Crime Laboratory in the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Camp Crame.

"We extend our sincerest condolences and commiserate with the family and relatives of the slain kidnap victim. Their loss is our loss too. We feel the pain because we also lost soldiers, brothers in arms in trying to rescue them," Tan told Sun.Star Davao in a text message Tuesday.

The camp of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, in a separate statement, said the problem of the Abu Sayyaf group and the efforts to rescue all of their captives should be addressed by the present Aquino administration.

"This issue should be addressed by the current administration. The President-elect has not assumed properly yet, so the question should be directed to the current administration," Salvador "Sal" Panelo told Sun.Star Davao in a text message Tuesday.

This was Panelo's statement after the outgoing Mayor of Davao City has remained silent on the beheading of yet another Abu Sayyaf captive.

Tan said that this act of the Abu Sayyaf Group is un-Islamic and a violation of the teachings of Mohammad.

"They do not in any way represent our peaceful Muslim brothers who are true believers of Islam. This group showed us their true nature and how evil they truly are," he said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will continue to work relentlesly with their police counterparts to neutralize and hold these criminals accountable for their crimes.

Justin Trudeau, Canada's prime minister, in his statement issued late Monday evening, said that he had "every reason that a Canadian citizen, Robert Hall, held hostage in the Philippines since September 2015, has been killed by his captors."

"The vicious and brutal actions of the hostage-takers have led to needless deaths," Trudeau said in his statement posted on the prime minister's official website.

"With the tragic loss of two Canadians, I want to reiterate that terrorist hostage-takings only fuel more violence and instability," the statement added.

Trudeau, however, said that they will not give in to the "fear mongering tactics" played by the terrorist groups.

"We are more committed than ever to working with the Philippine government along with international partners to pursue those responsible for these heinous acts and bring them to justice," Trudeau said.

Malacañang strongly condemned Tuesday the "brutal and senseless" murder.

"We truly regret that our people's tradition of extending hospitality has been marred by a small band of criminals extorting ransom," Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

Coloma made the pronouncement after the military confirmed that the ASG beheaded Hall on the afternoon of June 13 after its 3 p.m. deadline for the payment of P600-million ransom had lapsed. (with reports from Sunnex)
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