Family urges federal government to create plan to rescue kidnapped Canadians
It was a chilling video that made international headlines.
“My name is Robert Hall,” said Hall in a video posted online in October 2015. “To my family and friends I’m okay but I’m in grave danger.”
Canadian Robert Hall, along with three others, was taken at gun point from a marina in the southern Phillipines by an Al-Qaeda-linked militant group.
They threatened to kill them if a hefty ransom wasn’t paid.
“The family did come up with $1.2 to 1.4 million, but the terrorist group Abu Sayed declined saying that they wanted $16 million,” says Hall’s cousin Gord Bibby, who lives in Nanaimo.
The Adventurous Campbell River resident, who had sold all his possessions and sailed across the Pacific Ocean, suddenly found himself a pawn in a deadly fight.
Ottawa refused to pay the ransom and Hall’s family was told not to talk to the media or to the families of the other kidnap victims and say they were given very little information about what the government was doing.
“There was a great amount of frustration on the family’s part about how the government handled this,” says Bibby.
When the ransom demand went unmet, Hall was beheaded.
“The government of Canada is committed to working with the government of Phillipines and international partners to pursue those responsible for this heinous act,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on May 25, 2016.
But to this day many of the families have questions about what exactly the Canadian government did to try to save their lives.
“We want there to be some training for the people who interact with the families,” says Hall’s cousin Lois Eaton, who lives in Qualicum Beach. “It was grievous the lack of support that was given.”
Eaton has started a petition calling on the feds to improve in its support and the family believes Canada should have a more active role in helping kidnapped citizens.
“We want a plan that actually has as the goal rescuing Canadians who have been kidnapped in foreign countries,” says Eaton.
“Instead of Canadians being soft targets, potential kidnappers, terrorists, should know that if they kidnap Canadian citizens there will be a price to be paid,” says Bibby.
They believe if Canada could have done more and ultimately their dearly loved cousin could have been saved.
The petition can be found here.