Two men identifying themselves as Canadians taken hostage last month in the Philippines have appeared at gunpoint in a video that is circulating online.
One man introduces himself as Robert Hall who says he is OK, but in grave danger. Another says he is John Ridsdel, and urges the Canadian government to help the hostages.
Canadians Hall and Ridsdel, along with a Norwegian man and a Filipina woman were taken hostage by gunmen from the Holiday Ocean View Samal Resort on Samal Island in the Philippines in September.
Another man identifies himself in the video as the Norwegian hostage while the woman doesn’t say a word. All four are surrounded by masked men armed with guns and machetes.
The two Canadians appeal to the Canadian and Philippine governments to stop military operations.
“We beseech the Canadian government to please, please help us and the Philippine government … by stopping all of the operations that have been going on like artillery fire which came near us,” Ridsdel said.
One masked man says he wants the Canadian and Philippine governments to stop the bombings before negotiations can begin. He did not identify himself or say which group he was with.
The abductions last month from the southern Philippine resort were a reminder of the long-running security problems that have hounded a region with bountiful resources, but hamstrung by poverty and an array of insurgents and outlaws.
Among the suspects are the Abu Sayyaf group, a brutal al-Qaida-linked organization that has pulled off mass kidnappings for ransom in the last 15 years.
The Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa says it is aware two Canadians were taken hostage in the Philippines and that Canadian officials are in contact with Filipino authorities.
Philippine Army Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado said Wednesday, Oct. 14, that authorities were trying to verify the authenticity of the video, adding the military would reject any demands from the militants.