Trudeau assures justice for beheaded Canadians in Sulu

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 14) — President Rodrigo Duterte had assured that those behind the killing of Canadians Robert Hall and John Ridsdel in 2016 will be punished, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.

“We have been advised most of those involved... have been killed in military operations. We continue to work... to ensure everyone is brought to justice,” he said at a press briefing during the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Related Summits.

The President made the commitment in bilateral talks with Trudeau as the two leaders agreed to collaborate in the international effort to fight terrorism. 

In June 2016, Hall was beheaded in Jolo, Sulu by local terrorist group Abu Sayyaf. The terrorists killed him because the ₱300 million ransom was not paid to spare his life.

Prior to that, another Canadian – John Ridsdel – was also beheaded after an April 25 deadline to pay an  ₱800-million ransom lapsed.

Trudeau repeated his government’s stand that Canada will not release money to fund terrorist groups.

“We will not, we will never pay ransom to terrorist groups. That creates funding for these terrorist groups to make more violence. It puts more risk to other Canadians around the world,” Trudeau stressed.

Trudeau promised to continue collaborating with the Philippines to implement international counter-terrorism measures.

“We continue to work to ensure there are consequences for anyone engaged in terrorist hostage-taking,” he said.

The two Canadians and four others were abducted on Samal Island in September 2015.

A Filipino captive with the group, Marithes Flor,  was released in June 2016. Norwegian hostage  Kjartan Sekkingstad was released on September 17 after being held for  over a year.