Islamist militants holding captive 12 foreign hostages in Philippines

Islamist militants in the southern Philippines are still holding captive 12 foreign hostages and four Filipinos, the military said Monday.

Over the weekend, the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf released six  hostages – a Norwegian man, three Indonesians and two Filipinos – on the island of Jolo.

Kjartan Sekkingstad was freed on Saturday, followed by the Indonesian fishermen. On Sunday, Abu Sayyaf freed two Filipinos abducted in August.

"There remain 12 foreign hostages in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf, and there are four locals also in their hands," Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said.

"We believe that most of these hostages are still in good condition," he added. "We are aiming to rescue or recover them safely."

Among the remaining hostages is Dutch birdwatcher Eworld Horn, kidnapped in February 2012 with a Swiss man and a Filipino guide, who escaped immediately after they were taken.

Swiss citizen Lorenzo Vinciguerra escaped in December 2014.

Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Ramie said a ransom of 30 million pesos (638,200 dollars) was paid for Sekkingstad's release, but he did not say who paid the money.

Local media reports added that 10 million pesos was paid for each of the three Indonesians.

The Philippine government has a no-ransom policy, but authorities have admitted that they are unable to stop other parties from paying.

Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for some of the deadliest attacks in the Philippines, aside from high-profile kidnappings of foreign hostages.

Last update: Mon, 19/09/2016 - 12:09

More from World

Monitor: Regime recaptures rebel-held town in central Syria

Syrian regime troops on Thursday recaptured a key town from rebels in the central province of Hama following a major...

Climate report: Australia will get hotter, drier, and see more fire

Australia will experience more extreme hot and dry days and a longer and fiercer fire season, while parts of the...

Turkey slams US plan to have Kurds in Syria attack on Islamic State

Turkey has criticized the United States' plans to involve Kurdish forces as a key component of the force it aims to...

Pope: "disconcerting" to see male and female roles being confused

Male and female roles must be clearly defined according to traditional Christian models of family life if society is...

China begins construction on first domestic-made aircraft carrier

China has begun assembling its first domestic-built aircraft carrier, the country's Ministry of Defense said...