The Abu Sayyaf, which means bearer of the sword, are a sect known to be a violent group in the Philippines and claim to be inspired by Osama Bin Laden, according to BBC. The Jihadist group is considered to be a small one. They are known for kidnapping and demanding ransom. The group attacks civilians and the army alike.
Robert Hall and three others were kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf kidnapped in September 2015. Hall, who is a Canadian National, was beheaded, as reported by CNN World News. The confirmation of the beheading came from the Philippine government, of his execution, on, June 14, 2016.
The group killed Hall because the ransom of $8 million was not paid by the deadline. He had been the group’s captive for the past nine months; he was kidnapped on September 21, 2015. A spokesman for the Abu Sayyaf, said during a phone call to authorities, that Hall was beheaded.
The Abu Sayyaf disclosed the location of where his remains could be found. Confirmation of Hall’s severed head was said to be found by the military, in the southern Sulu province. He and the other captives John Ridsdel, Marites Flor, and Kjartan Sekkingstad were also taken during the same raid which took place at the Holiday Oceanview Resort on the Samal Island, which is off the southern islands coast of Mindanao. Ridsdel had been killed prior to Hall after the Canadian government did not bend to the demands of their ransom and refused to pay.
In the last year, the Abu Sayyaf have taken many hostages, including Malaysian and Indonesian workers, as well as Western tourists. BBC News reported that three groups of Malaysians and Indonesians were let go in early 2016.
Abu Sayyaf, are known to be a separatist insurgency which operates out of the southern Phillippines. They are considered to live in an impoverished region, and most of the population is Muslim. This is in contrast with the rest of the country which is mostly Roman Catholic.
The founder of Abu Sayyaf was Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani, who is reportedly an Islamic preacher who fought in the Soviet-Afghan war. The preacher is said to have met Osama Bin Laden during the war. After Janjalani’s death, the sect split into two. Since 2007, Abu Sayyaf has been able to function as a group of factions that can work together at times or they compete with one another, as reported by BBC News.
The group only has 400 members, and they are violent with their inspiration stemming from Osama Bin Laden. Since 2014, different factions of the group have claimed their allegiances to the Islamic State (ISIS). There are fears that the violent group, who has been inspired by Osama Bin Laden, are also supporting other terrorist activities coming from other ISIS- associated groups in the region.
It is reported that the Philippine army and the local police have been tracking the group so that they can defeat it, and rescue hostages. After a fight in April 2016, between the Abu Sayyaf and the army, which resulted in 18 troops dead and 56 wounded, the group is now on the run and still fighting.
By Tracy Blake
Edited by Cathy Milne
ABC News: Robert Hall: Philippines government confirms execution of Canadian hostage by Abu Sayyaf
BBC News: Philippines unrest: Who are the Abu Sayyaf group?
CNN World: Second Canadian in Philippines executed by Abu Sayyaf militants
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