Norwegian kidnap victim of ASG finally freed

MANILA -The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) freed unhurt Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, one of four foreigners it kidnapped last year, due to massive military operations in Sulu Saturday afternoon.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo told the PNA that Sekkingstad was released at about 2 p.m. Saturday in Patikul, Sulu.

“Mr. Sekkingstad will proceed to the Provincial Capitol awaiting the turnover to proper authorities,” he Arevalo said.

Sekkingstad was abducted at Ocean View Resort in Samal Island, Davao on Sept. 21, 2015, along with John Ridsdell, Robert Hall and Filipina Maritess Flor. Ridsdell and Hall were both beheaded while Flor was set free last July.

“The release of the kidnap victim is an offshoot of the ongoing military operations to sustain pressure against the ASG and the assistance of the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front),” Arevalo said.

Simultaneous land, air, naval and police operations complemented each other putting pressure on the ASG.

Elements of the Naval Commander Amphibious Task Group 80.2, which conducted amphibious raids in the islands of Pata and Kalinggalang Caluang in Sulu resulted in the confiscation of 15 unregistered motorized boats to include one confiscated by the PNP in Parang, Sulu and believed to be used by ASG Alhabsy Misaya, who is responsible for kidnapping Indonesian and Malaysian tugboat crews in the high seas these past months.

The boats were turned over to the Sulu MARINA for disposition, Arevalo added.

He also said AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Ricardo Visaya commended the efforts of soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who maintain the operational tempo.

“He expects there will be more kidnap victims released under the same circumstances,” Arevalo said. Priam Nepomuceno/PNA –