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Philippines: Hostages beg for help in 'final' video

Philippines: Hostages beg for help in 'final' video
Canadian, Norwegian and Filipina abducted by Abu Sayyaf last September with fellow Canadian, who was later beheaded

By Hader Glang

ZAMBOANGA CITY, the Philippines (AA) - A Daesh-affiliated group that one month ago beheaded a Canadian hostage in the jungles of the southern Philippines has released a "final" video of the man's traveling companions, in which they beg president-elect Rodrigo Duterte to save them.

The video uploaded late Sunday to the SITE Intelligence group website, shows Canadian Robert Hall requesting Duterte's assistance in saving him and two other hostages before a June 13 deadline, adding that the Filipino government can communicate with his Abu Sayyaf kidnappers through a woman in the Canadian Embassy.

“I came into your beautiful country in good faith and in peace and here I am,” Hall says. “We hope that you can work on our behalf as soon as possible to get us out of here, and please, the sooner the better.”

Hall -- abducted last September with Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, a Filipina woman and fellow Canadian John Ridsdel (later killed by the group) -- accuses the Canadian government of abandoning him and his family during the ordeal, and asks Duterte to "negotiate or communicate with them" through the embassy intermediary he names as "June".

He describes a humiliating, fear-filled daily existence.

"We live like this every day, go to bed like this. We have 100 people heavily armed around us all the time that dictate to us and talk to us like children," he says.

"One of us has already been murdered. We hope that you can work on our behalf as soon as possible to get us out of here. Please, the sooner the better. We're three-quarters dead right now."

Hall goes on to thank his family and friends for their efforts to free him and apologizes for the "mess" he got them in.

Norwegian hostage, Sekkingstad -- like Hall clad in an orange T-shirt -- appeals to his own government, the Canadian and Filipino governments and Duterte.

"Please try to help us. Contact this group through 'June' at the Canadian embassy and try to negotiate with this group. We will be executed on June 13 at 3 o'clock [0700GMT], unless there is an agreement made with this group."

The group had earlier demanded a 300 million pesos ransom ($6.37 million) for each of the victims to be paid by April 25.

But after beheading Ridsdel, the group raised the amount to 600 million pesos and reset the deadline to June 13.

The Abu Sayyaf is believed to still be holding several other captives, including a Dutch birdwatcher and four Malaysians believed to be held captive in the jungles of Sulu.

Since 1991, the group -- armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles -- has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortions in a self-determined fight for an independent province in the Philippines.

It is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to be paid for their release.

source: News Feed
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