Abu Sayyaf Norwegian hostage “Kjartan Sekkingstad” Finally Released


DAVAO CITY—Freed Abu Sayyaf hostage Kjartan Sekkingstad on Saturday thanked the Philippine government for facilitating his release.

Peace process adviser Jesus Dureza, in a statement, said Kjartan Sekkingstad was released by his captors at around 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Sekkingstad was supposed to be presented to the media here but the event was cancelled due to inclement weather.

Dureza said Sekkingstad would be staying overnight at the place of Moro National Liberation Front chair Nur Misuari “who volunteered to host his stay due to heavy rains and nightfall.”

“Men of Misuari and former Gov. Sakur Tan and other volunteers helped in the release,” he added.

The Palace official said he would bring Sekkingstad to Davao City on Sunday morning.

“I will fly him out of Jolo town tomorrow morning,” he said.

According to Dureza, the Norwegian has extended his appreciation to President Rodrigo Duterte for his release.

“Thank you to President Duterte,” Sekkingstad was quoted as saying in a phone conversation with Dureza.

Dureza said the Norwegian’s release was “capped (by) months of quiet, patient but determined efforts with the assistance of all sectors.”

The bandit group Abu Sayyaf said Sekkingstad was supposed to be freed Friday night but they were still waiting for the delivery of the P30 million ransom.

Sekkingstad is one of the four people taken by the Abu Sayyaf from a marina in a Samal resort here last year.

Two of his companions, Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, were beheaded while Filipina Marites Flor was earlier freed.

– Inquirer