Philippine forensic experts are examining a headless Caucasian man’s body, found by locals in a small village in the southern province, to determine if it is that of slain Canadian hostage John Ridsdel.
According to the Associated Press, a man’s body was found beside a dry creek near Talipao, in Sulu province, where Muslim extremists beheaded Ridsdel on Monday after a ransom deadline had passed.
On Tuesday, the Philippine military came under increased scrutiny to rescue more than 20 foreign hostages, including fellow Canadian Robert Hall, after militants of the Abu Sayyaf terror group murdered the 68-year-old, who had been held captive for seven months.
Reiterating his outrage, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday “Canada is determined to bring these terrorist criminals to justice.”
“We are working with international allies, specifically the Philippines to ensure that these terrorists, these criminals will be brought to justice,” the prime minister said.
Trudeau went on to defend Canada’s policy of not paying ransoms as the second Canadian hostage remains to be held captive by the Muslim extremists.
“Canada does not and will not pay ransom to terrorists. Directly or indirectly, and there are very direct and clear reasons for this,” Trudeau said.
Thousands of troops are scouring Sulu’s vast jungle for the militants, who are holding about 22 other foreign hostages.
On Monday, the Philippine army launched a rescue mission to free the Canadians, a Norwegian man and a Filipino woman, who were kidnapped at gunpoint from a marina on southern Samal Island last September.
The kidnappers had reportedly demanded 300 million pesos ($8.1 million) for each of the foreigners, and set a deadline of Monday at 3 p.m. local time to deliver the ransom or the militants would behead one of their captives.
Ridsdel’s severed head was found late Monday in Sulu’s Jolo town.
–with files from the Associated Press