A video of four hostages being threatened by armed men surfaced on Twitter yesterday (Oct. 12), and has caught the attention of Philippine military officials.
The hostages were identified as three foreign nationals and one Filipino woman, who were abducted from a luxury resort off the coast of Mindanao last month, reports the New York Times. The flag in the video resembles that of the Islamic State, although no affiliation between the kidnappers and terror group ISIL has been confirmed.
The Philippine military have said that the video seems authentic, and Col. Restituto Padilla told the Times that specialists are “validating” the video and working to identify the kidnapping group.
The Times identified the foreign hostages as two Canadians and a Norwegian. In the video, they speak into the camera and ask their governments to cooperate with their kidnappers and call off any military operations against them. The Times reports that Col. Padilla declined to confirm military action against the kidnappers.
Col. Padilla also said that there would be no negotiations. “We cannot, as of the matter, discuss operational details, but we can assure you the safety of the hostages is always foremost in our minds,” he told reporters in a press briefing, according to Reuters.
The Philippines has a long history with militant groups, including Islamist separatist groups like the Moro National Liberation Front and the Abu Sayyaf (a group that splintered off from the MNLF). The Abu Sayyaf are known for bombing, kidnapping, and using extortion to achieve their goals.