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Abu Sayyaf frees Norwegian captive in Sulu

Roel Pareño (Philstar.com) - September 17, 2016 - 3:08pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The Abu Sayyaf group released its last Samal captive on Friday night after alleged payment of P30-million ransom in Sulu, authorities said.

Norwegian hostage Kjartan Sekkingstad was released almost five days before spending a year in captivity.

Intelligence units reported Sekkingstad was freed about 8:30 p.m. on Friday at the vicinity of Barangay Buanza, Indanan, Sulu.

The release of Sekkingstad was facilitated by Tahil Sali, a Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) commander and its members, according to intelligence source.

Military officials confirmed the report and are securing details surrounding the release of Sekkingstad. 

The freed Norwegian was brought to the house of Gov. Abdusakur Tan II on Friday night at Barangay Asturias, Jolo town which experienced power interruption.

There was no immediate detail on the current condition of the freed hostage.

Sekkingstad was abducted along with Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, and Filipina Marites Flor last Sept. 21, 2015 in Samal Island resort off Davao province.

Ridsdel and Hall were beheaded last April 25 and June 13, respectively, after failure to pay the P300-million ransom per captive. Flor, on the other hand, was freed last June 24 unharmed.

The military continued to hunt the Abu Sayyaf group to rescue the remaining hostages, who include a Dutch national, seven Indonesians, five Malaysians and seven local captives. 

Troops were also verifying whether the three Malaysians abducted last September 10 off Pom Pom, Sempurnah, Sabah were brought to Sulu. 

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