Abu Sayyaf
Abu SayyafReuters

A Canadian man who was being held hostage by Abu Sayyaf militants in the Philippines was beheaded on Monday after a ransom deadline set by the group expired. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the execution as "an act of cold-blooded murder."

The severed head of John Ridsdel, 68, was reportedly found by Philippine police in a plastic bag dumped in a remote southern island on Monday. Risdel was being held along with another Canadian, and Norwegian and Philippine hostages who had all been abducted by the Islamist militant group last year from the the Samal island in southern Philippines. 

The Abu Sayyaf militants had demanded, in a video released last month, a ransom amount of 300 million pesos ($6.4 million) to be paid by April 25 to save Risdel's life. Trudeau did not comment on being asked if the Canadian government had negotiated with the abductors to release the two Canadians, but Risdel's family said they did "everything within our power to bring him home," according to Reuters

"Canada condemns without reservation the brutality of the hostage-takers and this unnecessary death. This was an act of cold-blooded murder and responsibility rests squarely with the terrorist group who took him hostage," Trudeau said on Monday. 

"The government of Canada is committed to working with the government of the Philippines and international partners to pursue those responsible for this heinous act."

The Abu Sayyaf militant group, which operates in the southern islands of Philippines, is known for kidnapping and executing foreigners and had recently claimed allegiance to the Islamic State group. 

In November last year, the militants beheaded a Malaysian hostage. Among the other foreign hostages, the group is said to be holding a Japanese, a Dutch, four Malaysians and several Indonesians.