The severed head found on the southern Philippine island of Jolo on June 13, was that of Canadian Robert Hall who has been held captive by Abu Sayyaf terrorists since September last year.
“The DNA samples of the recovered head…matched the DNA profile of Hall submitted by the forensics laboratory of Canada,” Chief Superintendent Emmanuel Aranas, director of the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory Service, said during a press briefing in Camp Crame in Quezon City today.
In recent weeks, the Philippine military had announced that it has stepped up its operations against Abu Sayyaf.
“… a decapitated head of a Caucasian-looking person was recovered beside Mt. Carmel Cathedral, Sanchez St, Brgy Walled, Jolo, Sulu placed inside a plastic bag after receiving information from a concerned citizen. Said decapitated head was turned-over to Trauma Station Hospital, Kampo Heneral Teodolo Bautista (KHTB) for proper disposition,” a report from the PNP last week said. “This type of execution by evil groups on innocent people is very unfortunate and deserves the condemnation of civil society and every peace-loving citizens.”
Hall was one of the three foreigners snatched by Abu Sayyaf terrorists September 21 last year in Samal Island. In April, fellow Canadian hostage, John Ridsel was also beheaded by his captors.
The fate of their hostages, Filipina, MaritesFlor who is Hall’s wife, and Kjartan Sekkingstad, a Norwegian resort manager, are still unknown.
The terrorist group, with ties to the ISIL, were originally demanding P1 billion for each of their hostages. They had since lowered their demand to P600 million.
Following Ridsel’s beheading, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a strong condemnation of the murder but also stated that Canada will not pay any ransom to terrorists.
During an official visit to the Philippines in June, Trudeau also called on leaders of other nations to support Canada’s no-ransom policy.
Last week, following the discovery of the severed head, Hall’s family issued a statement in support of the Canadian government’s policy, according to the CBC.
“Our family, even in our darkest hour, agrees wholeheartedly with Canada’s policy of not paying ransom,” the family said in a statement. ““Please know that the efforts taken to free Robert were vast and exhaustive. Every option was considered, every contact was sought. Ultimately, our efforts and those of the various governmental agencies involved weren’t enough.”