Sayyaf man who guarded beheaded Canadians surrenders to military
ZAMBOANGA CITY—One of the terrorists who had taken captive two Canadians who were beheaded in captivity in Sulu had surrendered to officials of the military-led Joint Task Force Zamboanga on Monday (Feb. 1).
Brig. Gen. John Divinagracia, task force commanding officer, said Serhan Nieva Saliddin, 37, was one of Abu Sayyaf members under the leadership of Mundi Sawadjaan.
Saliddin, according to Divinagracia, served as guard watching over the two Canadians, a Norwegian and a Filipino who were kidnapped in a resort on Samal Island, Davao del Norte province and brought to Sulu, an Abu Sayyaf bailiwick, five years ago.
The Canadians, John Risdel, 68, and Robert Hall, 50, and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkisnstad, 56, and Filipino Teresita Flor were kidnapped in the resort owned by Sekkinstad on Samal island on Sept. 21, 2015.
Seven months after the kidnapping, on April 25, 2016, Abu Sayyaf beheaded the two Canadians separately—Risdel first then Hall on June 13, 2016.
Divinagracia said Saliddin guarded the hostages for up to seven months.
Saliddin’s assignment was to guard the hostages but he “left the group after encountering hardships in the mountain due to a series of military operations,” Divinagracia said.
Saliddin left the group when the two Canadians “were still alive,” he added.
Flor was first to be released after a month of captivity while Sekkinstad was freed only in September 2016.
Divinagracia said Saliddin went in hiding and left Sulu in 2018 for Taganak Island in Tawi-Tawi. He entered Sabah illegally and traveled to Kota Kinabalu, where he was arrested for illegal entry.
Since his arrest in 2018, Saliddin had been jailed in Kota Kinabalu until he was deported to the Philippines in September 2020.
Saliddin stayed in Zamboanga City with relatives at the village of Mampang “but frequently changed locations out of fear,” said Divinagracia.
The Army officer said Saliddin later sent surrender feelers. “We evaluated his case and we accepted his surrender this morning,” Divinagracia said.
He said it was up to police to file charges against Saliddin.
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