June 13, 2016: Execution of Canadian hostage in Philippines

On June 13, 2016 an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group in the Philippines, Abu Sayyaf Group, killed Canadian Robert Hall

JOLO, PHILIPPINES – We cannot imagine what it must be like to be held hostage: unfortunately, some episodes conclude badly.

Should states or companies (or families) pay to ransom kidnap victims? The age-old reply is “no!” since paying merely rewards those who engage in this illegal activity.

Then again, if it were MY family member being held I could have a rat’s ass about protocol. I would move heaven and earth to get him or her back safely.

There are incidents where states say that no ransom will be paid and yet some money changes hands. Is this a case of right hand/left hand or do states deliberately maintain plausible deniability?

Does it really matter HOW she regained her freedom? (Photo: Jasonestevan – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Sometimes, hostage affairs end badly, no matter what was done.

On this day in 2016

An Al Qaeda (AQ)-linked terrorist group in the Philippines killed Canadian Robert Hall, who had been held for months. The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) had warned they would take Mr. Hall’s life if the Canadian government did not pay a $8 million ransom: Canada did not negotiate with the group, but lent assistance to the Philippine military, which had carried out¬†operations against the group.

We strongly condemn the brutal and senseless murder of Mr. Robert Hall, a Canadian national, after being held captive by the Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu for the past nine months.

Philippines President Benigno Aquino

ASG has been active in the Philippines for decades. It had also killed a fellow Canadian, John Ridsdel, two months earlier.

It is hard to know what to say in these situations. All I can come up with is RIP Robert Hall.

Read More Today in Terrorism

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

Leave a Reply