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Trudeau: Canadian hostage likely killed in Philippines

Ottawa said it was working with authorities to confirm the death after another Canadian national's execution in April. The militant group Abu Sayyaf kidnapped Robert Hall from an island resort in 2015.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said authorities had "reason to believe" that a Canadian kidnapped by the Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf militant group has been killed.

"It is with deep sadness that I have reason to believe that a Canadian citizen, Robert Hall, held hostage in the Philippines since September 21, 2015, has been killed by his captors," the premier said.

Abu Sayyaf militants abducted four people aboard yachts at an upscale tourist resort in September 2015, including Canadian national John Ridsdel, who was beheaded in April after the group failed to receive a ransom of 300 million Philippine pesos ($6.5 million, 5.8 million euros).

Following Ridsdel's execution, Philippine President Benigno Aquino vowed to "neutralize" the group. However, a military offensive proved ineffective. Abu Sayyaf uses the mountainous, jungle terrain, plus the support of local communities to its advantage.

"The vicious and brutal actions of the hostage-takers have led to a needless death. Canada holds the terrorist group who took him hostage fully responsible for this cold-blooded and senseless murder," Trudeau said.

A video surfaced last year purportedly showing for the first time two Canadians, a Norwegian and a Filipino woman who were abducted by Abu Sayyaf

A video surfaced last year purportedly showing for the first time two Canadians, a Norwegian and a Filipino woman who were abducted by Abu Sayyaf

'Terrorist organization'

Although authorities believe the armed group has only a few hundred followers, it is considered one of the most dangerous militant groups in the country. Canada, the US and UN have designated the al-Qaeda affiliate as a "terrorist organization."

Abu Sayyaf rose to notoriety in the 1990s amid a Muslim separatist insurgency in the predominantly Catholic nation that claimed more than 100,000 lives.

The group has carried out several kidnappings since 1991, including a German couple released in 2014 after the militants reportedly received a ransom of $5 million.

ls/ (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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