The Norwegian hostage Kjartan Sekkingstad should be set free by the Islamist group Abu Sayyaf, in the Philippines, after being held hostage for nearly a year, according to the group’s spokesperson.
The Foreign Ministry stated that they are aware of the reports but could not confirm whether they are correct.
– We are familiar with media reports from the Philippines. We are examining the details now. We can not confirm that he has been released, says Frode Andersen, Communications Director of the Foreign Ministry yo news agency NTB.
Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad was abducted by Abu Sayyaf last September, along with the two Canadians John Ridsel and Robert Hall and Halls Filipino girlfriend Marites Flor.
Ridsel and Hall were killed when the demand for ransom was not met, while Flor was released in June. Sekkingstad has reportedly been held on the island of Jolo.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte claimed recently that they paid almost 9 million NOK in ransom for Sekkingstad, but the rebels have violated their part of the agreement to free him.
It is not known who has paid the ransom for Sekkingstad, but it is not Norwegian authorities.
Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad will meet the Philippines president and peace minister later Saturday, according to the Philippines newspaper Inquirer.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today