Progress in Filipino hostage saga – Norwegian is last victim held

A 9-months hostage deadlock in the Philippines finally seemed to loosen up when Filipina hostage, Marites Flor, was released by the militant Abu Sayyaf-group Friday June 24. Last hostage held by the group is Norwegian citizen, Kjartan Sekkingstad.

Now President Rodrigo Duterte has promised to help in negotiations for the release of Sekkingstad, the only victim left of the kidnaping incident at Samal Islands in September 2015.

Filipina citizen, Flor, was released as an “act of goodwill” after Duterte intensified the efforts to end the abduction. Duterte took further actions as a result of the recently held peace talks in Oslo, Norway, where government officials met with Filipino communist leaders.

At this occasion the Norwegian foreign minister asked if Duterte could help negotiate the release of their countryman and Flor. After the release of Flor, the Norwegian ambassador to the Philippines, Erik Forner, thanked President-elect Rodrigo Duterte for his continued efforts to secure the release of Abu Sayyaf hostage Sekkingstad.

“We are very thankful for what you are doing,” Forner told Duterte in a video released by Radio TV Malacañang (RTVM) to media on June 24.

Flor was present at the meeting between Forner and Duterte, from where she said:

“He (Sekkingstad ed.) really needs help…. I am so sorry Kjartan is not here,” said Flor.

Furthermore Flor told that the Abu Sayyaf still plans to kill Sekkingstad if they do not get the ransom money. Abu Sayyaf has demanded a P600 million in ransom for Sekkingstad.

Two other hostages, Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, were beheaded by the terrorist group after the ransom deadline had passed.

This video was released in connection to the release of Marites Flor, June 24:

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