“I like to express a heartfelt thank you to President Duterte, Secretary Jesus, the chairman Nur Misuari and his finest men who released me yesterday afternoon, got me out of captivity,” Abu Sayyaf hostage Kjartan Sekkingstad said. “Also, the Norwegian embassy, the Norwegian team, my Filipino family, and my family in Norway, and everybody who has helped make this release possible. I am very happy to be alive and free. It’s a beautiful feeling. Thank you all.”
Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad was kidnapped from a high-end resort he managed on the island of Samal in September last year alongside two Canadians who were beheaded earlier this year and a Filipina who was eventually released.
The Indonesian fishermen were abducted in Sabah in mid-July this year.
Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesman of Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said Sunday that Sekkingstad and the Indonesians were flown separately Sunday afternoon from Jolo, Sulu.
PhilStar reported that Tan said that Sekkingstad was escorted by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza to Davao City while the Indonesian fishermen were escorted by Joint Task Force Sulu commander Brig. Gen. Arnel dela Vega to this city.
Meanwhile, the presidential palace continues to deny reports claiming a P30 million (about $625,000) ransom was paid for the release of Sekkingstad.