This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Equation: Ransom or Beheading

"We're told that this is the absolute final warning, so this is a final urgent appeal to governments, Philippine, Canadian, and families. If 300 million is not paid for me by 3 p.m. on April 25th, they will behead me."
"Please do what’s needed to meet their demands within one month or they will kill me, they will execute us."
John Ridsdel, 68, former Canadian mining executive

"I appeal to my family, the Philippine government, and the Canadian government. My specific appeal is to the Canadian government who I know has the capacity to get us out of here."
"I wonder what they are waiting for."
"The Canadian government has got to get off its ass and do what is necessary to get us out of here soon. We’ve got one month before this happens." 
Canadian hostage, 50, Robert Hall
Canadians abducted in Philippines
Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall are among 4 people who were abducted from the Holiday Ocean View Samal Resort in the Philippines
"[The] deadline of warning is over. Still, you procrastinate. So now this is already an ultimatum."
"Once you don't meet the demand, we will certainly behead one amongst this four [hostages]."
"If you think that your policy is far better for you than the lives of [these] captives, certainly we will do something terrible against [these] captives. "Allahu Akbar! (God is great)."
spokesman-captor, al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf terrorist group
There are certainly precedents for Canada in dealing with such situations. Former Canadian diplomat Robert Fowler was working as a special envoy to the United Nations when he was taken hostage in 2008 along with Canadian diplomat Louis Guay by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and held for 130 days in the Sahara Desert, before they were both finally released when the demanded ransom was paid, although the Government of Canada repeatedly denied paying any ransom. 

It is government policy in some countries not to pay ransom and in so doing supporting the financial structure of fanatical terrorist groups.

The Abu Sayyaf Islamist group is now demanding 300 million pesos by April 25, down from the original one billion they had demanded a month earlier. This last of a series of videos showing four captives, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, Robert Hall, his Filipina friend Marites Flor, and John Ridsdel, has more of an air of urgent hopelessness about it than previous ones. 

The threat of imminent death hangs over one of the four, taken hostage on September 11 when the Holiday Ocean View Samal Resort off Mindanao was stormed by the terrorists. The scenario is a typical one where people seem to place themselves into situations vulnerable to disaster, then turn to their governments to exert influence or money or whatever it takes to extricate them from these savagely miserable situations.

This is a group that specializes in the taking of foreign hostages. Abu Sayyaf has been listed as a terrorist group since 2003 by Public Safety Canada which points out that terrorism as practised by the group is engaged in for the primary goal of profit through kidnap-for-ransom. Without doubt, some contacts are working behind the scenes on behalf of the Canadian government to sponsor the release of the two Canadians, as no doubt Norway is as well. Marites Flor's release will be thrown in for good measure.

"Each video I've seen, [the hostages] are weaker and weaker", observed Zachary Abuza, a southeast Asian security expert at the National War College in Washington. It is a template all such groups are faithful to, because it works. Abu Sayyaf may style itself a terrorist group, taking its inspiration from al-Qaeda and Islamic State, but it is evidently a gathering of thugs throughout the jungles of the Sulu Archipelago.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

() Follow @rheytah Tweet