Norwegian envoy expresses gratitude for Sekkingstad's release


Posted at Sep 18 2016 06:58 PM

Freed Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad waves as he prepares to board a plane at Jolo airport on Sunday. Nickee Butlangan, Agence France-Presse

MANILA - The Norwegian ambassador to the Philippines on Sunday thanked President Duterte for facilitating the release of Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad from his Abu Sayyaf captors. 

"Our gratitude to Pres. Duterte, Sec. Dureza and everyone who contributed to the release," Norwegian Ambassador Erik Forner wrote onTwitter. 

The Abu Sayyaf freed Sekkingstad on Saturday at a remote area of Patikul, Sulu, a known bailiwick of the bandits.

Moro National Liberation Front chairman Nur Misuari and former Sulu Governor Sakur Tan helped secure the Norwegian's release, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said. 

Accompanied by Dureza, Sekkingstad flew to Davao City on Sunday afternoon to meet with Duterte

Sekkingstad was abducted from a high-end tourist resort which he managed in September 2015, along with two Canadians who were later beheaded. Their Filipina companio, Maritess Flor, was released last June. 

Abu Sayyaf extremists have earned millions of dollars in ransom from kidnappings -- often targeting foreigners. 

The group, which is blamed for the worst terror attacks in Philippine history and is listed by the United States as a terrorist organisation, has been the target of a military operation since August. 

(Duterte on Abu Sayyaf: Destroy them)