October 2015, Abu Sayyaf have released video showing two men from Canada and one from Norway now captive and being held for ransom. The men speak in the video asking for artillery and military operations to stop in the area so negotiations can proceed regarding the release of the hostages. The men plead with their Governments to do something to end the situation.
As one of the men speaks, a militant holds his head while menacing a type of kukri at his neck. Abu Sayyaf have in recent times had a number of bombing attempts foiled and felt the Philippines Army forces pressure which has led to this type of retaliatory hostage taking. (here) The Philippines Government recently designated Abu Sayyaf a terrorist organisation, a type of “shoot first, ask questions later” zero tolerance stance. (here)
Kidnapping is a cottage industry in the region as in recent times show a string of hostages who have been released after their families pay tens of thousands of dollars for “room and board.”
UPDATE – April 25th 2016 – Canadian John Ridsdel executed by Philippine terrorist group Abu Sayyaf (here)