Canada will not pay ransoms for the release of its citizens held hostage overseas, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said yesterday after the gruesome killing of a Canadian in the Philippines.
“Canada does not and will not pay ransom to terrorists, directly or indirectly,” Trudeau said, vowing instead to hunt down and prosecute hostage-takers.
The Philippine military has come under increased pressure to rescue more than 20 foreign hostages after their Muslim extremist captors beheaded John Ridsdel.
However, troops are facing a dilemma in how to proceed while ensuring the safety of the remaining captives.
Abu Sayyaf gunmen beheaded John Ridsdel on Monday, sparking condemnations and prompting Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau to pledge to help the Philippines pursue the extremists behind the “heinous act”.
Mr Ridsdel’s head, which was placed in a plastic bag, was dumped by militants in Jolo town, about 950km south of Manila, where Abu Sayyaf and allied gunmen are thought to hold 22 foreign hostages from six countries.
It is a politically-sensitive time to carry out major offensives at the height of campaigning in a closely-fought race by four contenders in May 9 presidential elections.
President Benigno Aquino III and opposition politicians have had differences over the handling of the Muslim insurgencies and the poverty and social problems that foster it.
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