Asia

Philippines hostages: Video shows kidnapped tourists

A still image captured from video footage of Philippine jihadis and kidnap victims is shown in this SITE Intelligence Group video made available to Reuters on 13 October 2015 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A man who identified himself as John Ridsdel (right) delivered a message asking for an end to artillery fire

The Philippine government is examining an online video that appears to show two Canadians, a Norwegian and a Filipino who were kidnapped last month.

The tourists were taken from a resort in the southern Philippines.

In the video, one hostage calls on the Canadian and Philippine governments to stop military attacks in the area.

The Philippines often sees kidnappings by Islamist militants in the south, who hold hostages for ransom.

The video, which began circulating online on Tuesday, shows three men and a woman surrounded by masked gunmen, with two black flags in the background.

"We beseech the Canadian government to please, please help us and the Philippine government... by stopping all of the operations that have been going on, like artillery fire which came near us," one hostage, who identifies himself as John Ridsdel, says in the video.

The other two introduced themselves as Robert Hall and Kjartan Sekkingstad. The Filipino woman did not speak.

A gunman also read out a statement repeating the demand for artillery attacks to stop, and saying the kidnappers were ready to negotiate for the hostages' release.

But the Philippine army has said negotiations would be unlikely and military offensives would continue.

Colonel Restituto Padilla, an army spokesman, was quoted by GMA News as saying: "The policy of the government as well as others who have been in this kind of situation is that there is no negotiation that can be made with any of those who perpetrating this crime."

Mr Ridsdel and Mr Hall were previously identified by Philippine authorities as Canadian tourists, while Mr Sekkingstad was said to be the Norwegian manager of the Holiday Oceanview resort on Samal Island, where the group was taken last month.

Mr Hall's Filipino girlfriend, Marites Flor, was taken as well.

Authorities have still not ascertained which militant group took the hostages.

In a separate case, gunmen kidnapped an Italian man from his pizza restaurant last week in the southern Zamboanga Sibugay province.

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