Canadian hostage sick in Philippine jungle
The military in the Philippines is concerned over reports about the deteriorating health of one of two Canadians abducted from a resort four months ago.
General Alan Arrojado, commander of forces in the island of Sulu in the Mindanao region, indicated that that there are reports about the ailing John Ridsdel.
Ridsel, 68, is the president of TVI Minerals Processing, Inc., a firm providing mineral mining services, with its main office in Pasig City in Metro Manila, but with business interests in southern Mindanao island.
Ridsdel was abducted from Samal island, also in Mindanao, in September alongside fellow Canadian Robert Hall, Norwegian resort owner Kjartan Sekkinstad and a Filipino female companion.
The Mindanao-based Abu Sayyaf militant group has demanded a ransom of 1 billion Philippine pesos ($21 million) for the release of each of the foreigners.
Ridsel is reportedly being carried by his captors as they seek to evade an ongoing military offensive.
The Canadian mining executive is said to have difficulty in walking due to sickness.
Being potential sources of money, the gunmen are taking care of their captives but the conditions in the jungles of the province are just too much for the sick hostage.
The Abu Sayyaf group is reportedly in constant movement to escape the military operations.
A video released on YouTube in early November showed the four hostages flanked by armed men in black garb against what appears to be an ISIS flag.
The video appears to show Ridsdel appealing for the ransom to be paid.
“We’re being ransomed each for 1 billion pesos,” he said. “I appeal to the Canadian Prime Minister and the people of Canada, please pay this ransom as soon as possible, or our lives are in great danger.”
The Abu Sayyaf released several videos of the hostages late last year at undisclosed jungle locations.
Arrojado said troops are continuing to pursue the escaping militants to prevent them from slipping out of the operation zone.
Aside from the Norwegian and two Canadians, the Abu Sayyaf is currently holding other foreigners including a Dutch man kidnapped more than three years ago in Tawi-Tawi island and a former Italian priest seized last year in Zamboanga del Norte province.