New video purports to show three hostages kidnapped by Abu Sayaff Islamist militants in the southern Philippines pleading to their governments for help, after a fellow hostage was beheaded last week. Mana Rabiee reports.
The hostages pleading for help are identified as Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, Canadian Robert Hall and Filipina Marites Flor. They were kidnapped in September by Abu Sayyaf Islamist militants from a resort in the southern Philippines, (older video) along with Canadian John Ridsdel, who was beheaded last week when a ransom deadline passed. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAN BELIEVED TO BE KJARTAN SEKKINGSTAD SAYING: "Anybody who can possibly help us. If the demand is not met, we will be executed like our friend John was a few days ago." Abu Sayyaf is a small but brutal group operating in a region with little security, despite a recent peace pact that ended 45 years of conflict between the government and Muslim rebels. The group has ammassed tens of millions of dollars in ransoms but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is urging countries not to pay. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAN BELIEVED TO BE ROBERT HALL SAYING: "To the Canadian government: I'm told to tell you to meet the demand. I don't know what you're doing, but you're not doing anything for us. John has been sacrificed, his family has been decimated, and I'm not sure why or what you're waiting for." (nats militant) "If you procrastinate once again, the negotiation, we will behead this all anytime." Philippine President Benigno Aquino says he wants to eliminate Abu Sayyaf before stepping down in two months. But the group is firmly entrenched and is proving a challenge for the thousands of troops trying to flush them out.