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Canada engages experts vs terrorist kidnappings, Trudeau says

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds press briefing at the International Media Center in World Trade Center, Manila on Nov. 14, 2017. Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV

MANILA, Philippines — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday said his government is coordinating with experts around the world to deal with kidnappings by terrorists.

 “We have been very much engaged both with the families and with other experts from around the world on how to best move forward in a situations that unfortunately do come up more and more often where there are terrorists ransom-takings,” Trudeau said in a press briefing at the International Media Center in Manila.

Trudeau made the statement after being asked about what Canada is doing to provide justice to Canadian nationals held captive and were beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf.

In 2016, two Canadians were killed by the Abu Sayyaf after the deadline to pay a ransom for their release lapsed.

John Risdel was killed on April 25, 2016 and Robert Hall was beheaded in June last year.

The two Canadians had been held hostage since Sept. 21, 2015 after being taken from a resort on Samal Island in Davao Del Norte along with Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipina Marites Flor, who were later on freed.

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Trudeau earlier condemned the “cold-blooded and senseless murder” and said it holds the terrorist group fully responsible for it.

READ: Trudeau outraged by 'cold-blooded murder' of Canadian Robert Hall

Firm no-ransom policy

The prime minister however said despite these deaths, Canada remains firm in not paying ransoms to terrorist groups.

“As you all know, Canada has taken a very very strong line and that we will not— we will not and we will never pay ransoms to terrorist groups,” Trudeau said.

“We stand firmly on that but obviously through the experiences that we've had –the tragic experiences that we've had we continue to look for ways to be more effective and provide better support to families who are in these tragic and horrific circumstances,” he added.

Trudeau explained that paying ransom to terrorist groups creates funding for them to “create more violence.”

He however acknowledged that Canada’s stance on ransom puts its citizens at risks as millions of Canadians live, work and travel around the world.

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