Canadian beheading draws outrage
MANILA, Philippines (AP):
Enraged by the beheading of a second Canadian hostage by ransom-seeking Abu Sayyaf extremists, Philippine troops pressed a major offensive in the south Tuesday but there was no sign of an end to the small but brutal insurgency that a new president will inherit in about two weeks.
With a black Islamic State group-style flag as a backdrop, Abu Sayyaf fighters beheaded Canadian hostage Robert Hall on southern Jolo island on Monday after a ransom deadline passed. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Philippine counterpart, Benigno Aquino III, expressed outrage and vowed to exact justice.
Another Canadian, former mining executive John Ridsdel, was beheaded by the militants in April. The fate of two other hostages from Norway and the Philippines who were abducted with Hall and Ridsdel from a small marina on southern Samal Island in September remains unknown, according to the military.
"This latest heinous crime serves to strengthen our government's resolve to put an end to this reign of terror and banditry," Aquino said through his spokesman.
In Ottawa, Trudeau said his government is "more committed than ever to working with the government of the Philippines and international partners to pursue those responsible for these heinous acts and bring them to justice, however long it takes".
Monday's beheading is the latest tragedy in the volatile mix of poverty, firearms, neglect and lawlessness that has cursed the southern Philippines.