CANADA – The murder of John Ridsdel, the Canadian who was held captive since September 2015 by the Abu Sayyaf Group has shocked the whole of Canada, especially the city of Calgary where he used to live and work as a journalist for many years.
Canadians came together and held a vigil to offer prayers and support to the family of Ridsdel, the Calgarian who was beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf in southern Philippines.
Ridsdel was vacationing in Samal Islands last year when he was abducted with fellow Canadian Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipina Marites Flor.
The Abu Sayyaf demanded P300 million for each hostage for their release. The ransom deadline lapsed on Monday morning and Ridsdel was subsequently beheaded.
Many Calgarians were shocked and angry at the Canadian government for not doing enough to save the life of Ridsdel.
“It’s a terrible tragedy. My condolences go out to the family and to the friends of John. It’s a terrible thing to have to deal with. Obviously, we can’t stop every hostage taking that goes on but I think a little bit more should be done,” said Alberta Health Services worker and vigil organizer Merle Terlesky.
Pastor Artur Pawloski, who was invited to lead the prayer for Ridsel’s family and the other hostages, believe that the Canadian government should do more on the war on terrorism and protect its people against Islamic extremism.
In his official statement, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the heinous act and said “This was an act of cold-blooded murder and responsibility rests squarely with the terrorist group who took him hostage.”
Filipinos in Calgary were also saddened with murder of their fellow Calgarian.
Now, they are worried that the three other hostages might suffer the same fate.
“As a Filipino Calgarian, we mourn his death and it could have been prevented had you know proper, you know the two governments could have intervened properly in order to save his life and I hope that this will be the last life because I think there are two more or three more hostages in the Philippines and I pray for their release the soonest possible time,” said Nelly Alcaraz of Migrante Alberta.
Another vigil rally is being planned by the organizers to pray for the safe release of the other hostages.
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