The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is poised to launch an investigation into the murder of Canadian tourist John Ridsdel, who was beheaded by terrorists in the Philippines this week.
The Islamist militant group called Abu Sayaff, was earlier demanding US$21 million each for the release of Ridsdel, another Canadian and two other people who were being held hostage since last year in the southern Philippine province of Sulu. Ridsdel was reported to have been beheaded when no ransom was paid.
An official who spoke to The Canadian Press on condition of anonymity said that the extraterritorial provisions of the Canadian Criminal Code allow RCMP to undertake investigations abroad.
If perpetrators of the murder are found and charged in the Philippines, they can also be tried under Canadian law, the source said.
Ridsdel, a 68-year-old former mining executive, was captured with another Canadian man and two other people by Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) Islamist terrorists in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao back in Sep. 21, last year. The group, which claims links with the fundamentalist terror group Islamic State earlier demanded as much as US$21 million each for the release of Ridsdel, fellow Canadian Robert Hall, Hall’s Filipina girlfriend Marites Flor and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkinstad.
Canada does not pay ransom to terrorist – Trudeau
On Monday morning, the rebel group warned the hostages will be beheaded unless $8.1 million was paid for their release. Around 7:30 pm, during a brief power blackout in the island of Jolo, a man riding a motorcycle threw a plastic bag along the road where some kids were playing. When the lights came back on, bystanders discovered the bag contained a severed head.
Yesterday, it was reported that villagers found a headless body of a Caucasian man beside a dry creek near the town of Talipao in Sulu. Philippine forensic experts are now working to determine the identity of the body.
Philippine police forensic experts were checking if a headless body of a Caucasian man found by villagers in a southern province is that of a Canadian hostage beheaded this week by Muslim extremists, officials said Wednesday.
The body was found beside a dry creek in a mountainous clearing near Talipao town in Sulu province, where Abu Sayyaf militants beheaded John Ridsdel after failing to get a huge ransom by a Monday deadline.
Meanwhile, as the Philippine military continues to mount a massive operation to go after the ASG, the commander of Army troops in Sulu was reported to have resigned his post.
Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado, tendered his resignation Tuesday, according to sources of the Philippine online news outlet Rappler.com.
Arrojado’s resignation letter said the general was resigning because of “conflict (over) the approach in addressing the ASG threats in Sulu,” the Rappler reported. Back on April 5, the officer was relieved of his post as commander of the Joint Task Group Sulu which oversaw security operation in the province of Sulu. Arrojado, however, retained his post as 501st brigade commander.
The general is being replaced by Col. Jose Faustino, former commander of the Army’s 35th infantry battalion.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has ordered the military to attack Abu Sayyaf camps.
Prime Minister Justine Trudeau has taken a hardline stance against the hostage takers, saying “Canada does not and will not pay ransom to terrorists — directly or indirectly.”