|Published : 17 Sep 2016, 19:42:53 | Updated : 17 Sep 2016, 19:43:20|
Philippine militants free Norwegian hostage
Islamist militants in the Philippines have released a Norwegian man taken hostage along with two Canadians who the group beheaded, officials say.
The Abu Sayyaf jihadists freed Kjartan Sekkingstad in southern Sulu province on Saturday. Unconfirmed reports say a large ransom was paid.
The group of four hostages was seized from a resort a year ago. A Filipina woman was freed in June.
Abu Sayyaf is fighting for an independent Islamic state.
It often attempts to raise money from ransom payments.
Sekkingstad was freed in the town of Patikul on Jolo island. He was handed over to rebels of the Moro National Liberation Front group, which has signed a peace deal with the government and helped negotiate the release.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had suggested in August that a large ransom had already been paid but that the jihadists were still holding Sekkingstad.
The army said on Saturday Sekkingstad had been freed because of its relentless attacks on the militants.
The four hostages had been taken from an upmarket resort on Samal island in Davao.
In April, the militants killed Canadian John Ridsdel after a ransom deadline expired, then a week later beheaded Robert Hall.
Hall's partner, Marites Flor, was freed in June, according to BBC.