Dureza awaiting call from Abu Sayyaf re Norwegian captive

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 03 July) – Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza is awaiting a call from the alleged spokesperson of the Abu Sayyaff Group who reportedly wanted to talk to him on the 56-year old Norwegian captive Kjartan Sekkingstad, the last of four persons seized from a resort in Samal on September 21, 2015, who remains in captivity

In a statement relayed to media by Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) secretary Martin Andanar on Sunday afternoon, Dureza said he got word from someone in Zamboanga City on Sunday morning that one Abu Rami allegedly from the ASG “wanted to talk to me directly about the remaining Norwegian hostage.”

“I told the person that I was ready and willing to talk with anyone for the release of hostages and (to) save lives. Provided that it would not be about ransom,” he said.

“I gave a secure phone number for him to contact me. I am still waiting,” he wrote.

Sekkingstad, manager of the resort from where he was taken along with Canadian nationals John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, and Hall’s Filipina partner, Marites Flor. The four were later brought to Sulu.

Canadian national John Ridsdel was executed on April 25, when the deadline for payment of ransom lapsed while fellow Canadaian, Robert hall was executed on June 13.

Flor was freed on June 24.

Abu Rami was first identified in news reports on June 13 as Muammar Askali aka Abu Rami, who claimed to be the Abu Sayyaf spokesperson. He warned that day that if their 3 p.m. deadline for payment of P600 million ransom was not met, they would behead the three remaining hostages.

Dureza said he gave Rami a secure contact number where he can be reached and told him that he is willing to communicate with anyone for as long it does not involve ransom. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)