Philippine gov’t reiterates no ransom policy after Norwegian hostage freed


MANILA, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) — The Philippine government said Sunday that it adheres to no ransom policy after a Norwegian hostage was reportedly released by Abu Sayyaf Group.

It was reported that 30 million pesos (630,000 U.S. dollars) was paid to the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group for the safe release of Kjartan Sekkingstad, who has been taken hostage for almost a year.

“I would like to reiterate that the government maintains the no ransom policy,” Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said in an interview over a state-run radio station.

However, he said, “now, if a third party paid (ransom), if the family paid, we do not know.”

He even challenged the media to inform the government where they got the information that money exchanged hands for the release of the Norwegian, one of the four hostages seized by the bandits on September 21 last year in a resort in Samal Island in southern province of Davao del Norte.

The two other Canadian hostages were both beheaded earlier this year after failure to pay ransom, while a female Filipino was also freed late June.

The military has said that around 20 other Filipino and foreign hostages have remained on the hands of the bandits in southern Philippines.


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