THE Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) operating in Indanan, Sulu released Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad late Friday night after receiving ransom money from his family.
Sources disclosed that the family of Sekkingstad reportedly paid P30 million in ransom in exchange for the safe release of the victim.
The source said that the ASG released Sekkingstad at the village of Buanza in the town of Indanan in Sulu about 8:30 pm. Friday.
According to the same source former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Commander Tahil Sali negotiated for the release of Sekkingstad for whom the ASG earlier was asking P300 million.
The MNLF brought Sekkingstad to the residence of Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan II about 5 a.m. yesterday.
The military has yet to receive a report about Sekkingstad’s release.
Last month President Duterte said P50 million had already been paid for the Norwegian’s release but the Abu Sayyaf held on to him. This developed despite the government’s long time no-ransom policy to kidnappers.
The President said ransom has been paid for the Norwegian but the bandits kept on postponing Sekkingstad’s release because it reportedly wanted to get more money. It was not known however who paid the ransom.
The Abu Sayyaf bandits reportedly wanted P300 million as ransom for the Sekkingstad.
The Norwegian was one of four tourists who were kidnapped by the armed group in Samal Island, Davao del Norte in September 2015. The bandits also kidnapped Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, and Filipino Maritess Flor.
Only Flor was released on June 24, while the other two were beheaded in April and June 2016, respectively, after the deadline for their ransom payments lapsed.