DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 02 October) — Three more Indonesian captives were freed by the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf before noon Sunday, two weeks after the bandits released Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad last September 17 in Patikul, Sulu and three Indonesians the next day.
In a statement issued Sunday, Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Jesus Dureza said Nur Misuari, founding chair of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) called him after he turned over the hostages to Sulu governor Abdusakur Tan II.
Dureza said Misuari “personally called me and informed me about another breakthrough in the efforts to recover hostages held by the Abu Sayyaf Group.”
He said Misuari “requested me to relay this new development to President (Rodrigo) Duterte, in whose behalf I expressed gratitude for the efforts.”
Dureza said Tan identified the freed hostages as Edi Suryono, Ferry Arifin, and Muhamad Mabrur Dahri.
Dureza coordinated with Task Force Sulu commander Brigadier General Arnel Dela Vega to facilitate the smooth turnover of the hostages.
“These efforts were a convergence of cooperation upon the direction of Presdient Duterte involving the MNLF, the provincial government, the stakeholders and the AFP with tis ongoing military operations in the area against the Abu Sayyaf Group,” the peace adviser said.
The Abu Sayyaf freed Sekkingstad in Patikul, Sulu last September 17, or almost a year after he was abducted on September 21, 2015 at the Holiday Ocean View Resort in Island Garden City of Samal, along with Canadian nationals John Ridsdel, 68 and Robert Hall, 50, and Hall’s Filipina partner, Marites Flor, 38.
A day after the Sekkingstad’s release, the Abu Sayyaf also freed three Indonesian captives who were immediately turned over to the Indonesia Embassy.
Seekingstad stayed overnight at Misuari’s camp in Barangay Kagay due to heavy downpour.
“I am happy to be alive and free. It’s a beautiful feeling,” Sekkingstad said when he was presented to President Duterte at the Matina Enclaves in Davao City evening of September 18.
Ridsdel was beheaded by the terrorist group last April 25 while Flor’s partner, Hall, suffered the same fate on June 13 for failing to pay ransom. Flor was freed on June 24. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)