The Abu Sayyaf Group has released its Norwegian hostage, Kjartan Sekkingstad, and is now with with Presidential Peace Adviser Jess Dureza.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said: “I was just with Secretary Jess Durea on the phone. He told me he is now with the Norwegian national.”
Andanar said Dureza would give more details later tonight.
Sekkingstad was released less than month after President Rodrigo Duterte revealed that P50 million in ransom has been paid to Abu Sayyyaf.
In a meeting with reporters last August 25, Duterte said: “They kept on postponing it [because of the huge sum of money. Millions. ‘Yung Norwegian, bayad na ‘yon (Ransom has been paid for the Norwegian).” Duterte told reporters on Thursday morning.
Duterte declined to say who paid the ransom. “Hindi ko alam sang bangko,” said Duterte.
Sekkingstad was part of the group of four people abducted in Samal Island in Davao del Norte last year.
He is the second person set free after Filipina Marites Flor was released earlier. The two other captives, Flor’s boyfriend, Robert Hall, and John Riddle, both from Canada, were beheaded after the deadline for their ransom expired. Canada does not pay ransom. [source]