Norwegian remains in custody in the Philippines

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A 49-year-old Norwegian man remained in police custody in the Philippines on Tuesday, suspected of murdering a six-year-old girl on the island of Cebu. He insists there’s been a serious misunderstanding and that he has nothing to do with the girl’s disappearance or murder.

Svein Erik Berger and his Filipina fiancé were on their way to Hong Kong when they were stopped at the airport on Cebu, reported local media. Both were arrested based on police sketches of suspects in the murder of six-year-old Eliah Joy Pique, whose body was found after she allegedly had been kidnapped from her school on February 8.

Both Berger and his fiancé claim they’re innocent and that they have alibis for the time when witnesses claim they saw the girl being picked up by a Filipina woman and a foreign man. Berger claims it’s purely a case of mistaken identity.

Norway’s foreign ministry is following the case and been assured that the couple has defense counsel. “We are waiting for reports from the consulate and our embassy,” said Kjetil Elsebutangen of the foreign ministry in Oslo. “We are unsure what the local police and authorities will do next.”

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