Philippines: Abducted Cruiser Brutally Murdered

Canadian John Risdel, abducted from the Holiday Oceanview Resort on Samal Island 7 months ago, has been killed at the hands of his captors hours after the ransom deadline passed.

Published 7 years ago, updated 4 years ago

John Risdel’s new catamaran Azizah

Mr Risdel, fellow Canadian tourist Robert Hall, Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipina Marites Flor, were kidnapped on 21 September 2015.

Six weeks after the abduction, Abu Sayyaf gunmen released a video on social media of their hostages held in a jungle setting, demanding $27 million each for their safe release.

The men were forced to beg on camera for their lives, and similar videos were posted over several months in which the hostages looked increasingly frail.

In the most recent video, Mr Risdel, a retiree aged in his late 60s, said he would be killed on April 25 if a ransom of $8.3 million was not paid.

Hours after the ransom deadline passed, police in the Philippines said two people on a motorbike dropped a head near city hall on Jolo, a mostly lawless island about 1,000 kilometres south of Manila, that is one of the main strongholds of the Abu Sayyaf militant group.

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The cruising community suffered a great loss when John Risdel, a long time cruising friend, was brutally murdered this 25th April by the terrorists who held him hostage for 7 months.

This senseless execution is alas too common an occurrence in kidnapping for ransom in the Sulu Sea.

Despite some secret negotiations, the 20 million/hostage ransoms asked were never met.

John just bought a new boat, the catamaran Azizah, and came back a day sooner than planned from a shakedown cruise in the area. Robert & Tess also only arrived at the marina a few days before …

Some cruisers left the marina the morning of that fateful day. Bizarre how events could have turned if the timing had been different.

We were in the marina when the kidnappings occurred and none of us could do anything to prevent the 4 to be kidnapped late that night … we were all very unprepared and thus the 11 bad guys had it way too easy … We are now all hoping that our other 3 friends kidnapped in Samal get released very soon, one way or another!

Hopefully, we will have good news soon … we really wish we can rejoice in the liberation of Kjartan Sekkingstad (s/v Wiskun) and Robert & Tess (s/v Renova).

John will be deeply missed by us all who had the pleasure to meet him and spend time together.

Luc Callebaut, and Jackie Lee

S/v Sloepmouche

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