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The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) has freed Filipino Marites Flor after nine months of captivity.
Flor was released Thursday night and was presented to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte yesterday in Davao City.
Duterte confirmed that there were negotiations for the Filipina’s release, but made no mention if ransom was paid.
ASG, through its spokesman Abu Rami, claimed that R20 million was paid for Flor’s release.
Rami, whose real name is Muammar Askali, made the claim to a source who had the ASG spokesman’s mobile phone number.
The claim could not be independently confirmed.
Rami did not name who negotiated directly for Flor’s release, but said the money was raised by a group of respected individuals. He did not elaborate.
“I will call you later. We’re on the run,” Rami reportedly told the source in the vernacular.
Flor is the girlfriend of Canadian Robert Hall, one of three foreigners abducted last Sept. 21 in Samal Island off Davao del Norte. The others were Canadian John Ridsdel and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad.
Ridsdel and Hall were beheaded one after the other after ransom demands were not met.
Sekkingstad’s fate remained unknown.
During the brief talk on the phone, Rami said it was the group’s long desire to release Flor who was always crying and complaining of stomach ache.
Rami also confirmed the abduction of seven Indonesian sailors, but added that they’re in the custody of another ASG group.
Maj. Filemon Tan, spokesperson, AFP Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom), said Flor was turned over to the military’s Joint Task Force Sulu around 11 a.m. yesterday and underwent medical check up.
Reports quoted Flor as telling authorities that she is thankful for “second life.” She also thanked the military, police, and Tan that she was able to get out of her ordeal alive even though she lost her partner, Hall.
At around 1 p.m., incoming Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza arrived in Jolo to fetch Flor and bring her to Davao.