Abu Sayyaf frees Filipino hostage

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 24 2016 12:16 PM | Updated as of Jun 24 2016 01:15 PM

MANILA - Abu Sayyaf bandits have freed Filipino hostage Marites Flor, the girlfriend of slain Canadian hostage Robert Hall, in Jolo, Sulu, Friday, police said.

Senior Superintendent Wilfredo Cayat, Sulu police provincial director, said the bandits brought Flor to the house of Sulu Governor Sakur Tan in Jolo early Friday.

The release comes more than 10 days after the bandits beheaded Hall after a P300 million ransom for his release was not paid. The Abu Sayyaf also executed Canadian John Ridsdel, a former mining executive, in April.

PH confirms execution of Canadian hostage by Abu Sayyaf

Ridsdel, Hall, Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkingstad and Flor were seized from yachts at a marina in the southern Philippines on September 21, 2015.

The bandits initially demanded P1 billion each for the detainees, but it lowered the ransom to P300 million each early this year. Both the Philippine and Canadian government, however, reiterated a policy against paying ransom in these cases.

Founded in the early 1990s with seed money from Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, the Abu Sayyaf gained international notoriety for kidnapping dozens of foreign tourists for ransom in the early 2000s.

The group has also been blamed for the country's worst terrorist attacks, including the bombing of a ferry off Manila Bay in 2004 that killed more than 100 people.

It is believed to have just a few hundred gunmen, but thrives in lawless sections of the southern Philippines where Muslim rebels have for decades fought for independence or autonomy. With reports by Agence France-Presse and Reuters