Foreign trio held by Philippine militants appeal to govts for aid

MANILA • Three foreigners kidnapped by militants in the Philippines nearly six months ago have appealed to their governments for help to secure their release, as their Al-Qaeda-linked captors issued a one-month deadline for their demands to be met.

The men, identified by the Philippine authorities as two Canadians and a Norwegian, were shown in a video clip, along with a Filipino woman kidnapped with them, crouching on the ground with gunmen standing over them.

"To the Canadian Prime Minister and to the Canadian people in the world, please, do as needed to meet their demands within one month or they will kill me, they will execute us," said one of the men who identified himself as John Ridsdel, a Canadian mining consultant.

The three men were handcuffed, thin, bearded and shirtless.

The 11/2-minute video clip was posted on a Facebook page linked to Philippine Islamists.

The four were kidnapped from a beach resort on a southern island last September. They are believed to be held in the jungle on Jolo island, a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf militant group known for bombings, beheadings and kidnappings.

ONE-MONTH DEADLINE

To the Canadian Prime Minister and to the Canadian people in the world, please, do as needed to meet their demands within one month or they will kill me, they will execute us.

CANADIAN JOHN RIDSDEL, one of the three foreign men kidnapped nearly six month ago, making a plea in an online clip.

The other Canadian, who identified himself as Robert Hall, said he did not know how much money their captors were demanding. The third man identified himself as Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad.

The woman, who the authorities said earlier was the partner of one of the men, did not speak.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 11, 2016, with the headline 'Foreign trio held by Philippine militants appeal to govts for aid'. Print Edition | Subscribe