Philippine militant group Abu Sayyaf moves ransom deadline for 4 foreign hostages to April 25, in fresh video

Two Canadians, a Norwegian and a Filipina whom a small, but brutal, group of Islamist militants in the Philippines had threatened to execute on April 8 are still alive.

In a two-minute video posted on Friday (April 15) and seen by The Straits Times, the hostages could be seen asking their governments to pay 900 million pesos (S$26.5 million) by 3pm on April 25.

"We were told that this is the absolute, final warning… (This is) our final urgent appeal to the governments of the Philippines and to our Canadian families. If 300 million (pesos) is not paid for me, they will behead me," Mr John Ridsdell, 68, said in the video, as a large knife was held across his neck.

His fellow Canadian, Mr Robert Hall, 50, also appealed to the Canadian and Philippine governments to pay 300 million pesos for his safe release.

The Norwegian, Mr Kjartan Sekkingstad, 56, said his ransom was 300 million pesos as well.

The Filipina hostage - Ms Maritess Flor, 40 - was not allowed to speak.

Towards the end of the video, a hooded figure, presumably the group's spokesman, said; "(This is a) notice to the families and to the Canadian government and to the Philippine government. Now, the deadline of warning is over last April 8, 2016, but still you procrastinate. Now, this is already an ultimatum."

He added that if their demand for ransom is not met, they would be beheading "one of amongst these four" starting April 25 "at exactly 3pm".

Mr Ridsdell, Mr Hall, Mr Sekkingstad, and Ms Flor were taken on Sept 21 last year from the Holiday Oceanview Samal resort on Samal island, in the strife-torn Philippine island of Mindanao.

A video posted earlier by the group holding them - said to be the "Tanum sub-group" - had threatened to execute the hostages on April 8.

Efforts to rescue them had been complicated by a military offensive against Abu Sayyaf chieftain Isnilon Hapilon on April 9 that left 18 soldiers dead, in the worst violence in the Philippines' troubled south this year.

Over 20 militants were killed, according to the military.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the clash, and insisted that only three of its fighters died