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Abu Sayyaf releases Norwegian for P30-M

ZAMBOANGA CITY – After almost a year of being a captive of the bandit Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad finally regained his freedom Friday night.

While the report still has to be verified, sources from within the military reveal that the family of Sekkingstad was able to raise a ransom money worth P30 million for the release of their loved one.

Sekkingstad was reportedly freed Friday night at a village within Indanan town in Sulu after a successful negotiations led by former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Commander Tahil Sali.

From Indanan, Sekkingstad was brought to the place of Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan II where the victim and the provincial executive met yesterday.

Sekkingstad was one of four hostages who were abducted at the Ocean View Resort in Samal Island in Davao del Norte September of last year.

Of the four hostages, Sekkingstad and Filipina Marites Flor were the only ones who were freed as Flor’s boyfriend Robert Hall and fellow Canadian John Ridsdel were both beheaded by the terror group after ransom demands were not reportedly met.

The last three months have been rickety for Sekkingstad as the ASG released a stern warning of beheading the Norwegian hostage if no ransom will be paid.

Early July, Abu Sayyaf spokesperson Abu Rami called several journalists and told them about a plan to decapitate Sekkingstad if Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza will continue to decline negotiations regarding ransom money.

Last month, no less than President Duterte admitted that a P50-million payoff has been delivered for the release of Sekkingstad but the ASG reneged on releasing the hostage and demanded for more money. (NONOY E. LACSON)