MANILA-- Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla confirmed the assistance of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the release of Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad.
Padilla said the AFP sought the assistance of the MNLF to detach themselves from the areas where the AFP is known to operate.
"Fortunately in the case of the Norwegian, we do understand and we got word from the local government and our emissaries that they (MNLF) did provide assistance in the release of the Norwegian," Padilla said.
Sekkingstad, who was released Saturday, is the last of four hostages who were taken by Abu Sayyaf bandits from a luxury resort on Samal Island last year.
(READ: Abu Sayyaf frees Norwegian hostage: military)
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza earlier said MNLF founder Nur Misuari and former Sulu Governor Sakur Tan were instrumental in securing Sekkingstad's freedom.
Padilla added that "much of the pressure" that has been applied to the Abu Sayyaf has caused many of these events to unfold.
However, Padilla has yet to confirm the reported release of three Indonesian hostages on Sunday.
(READ: Abu Sayyaf frees 3 Indonesian captives)
"We cannot confirm this yet. We are still waiting the word of our units in Jolo, Sulu," he said.