Norway’s foreign ministry said it was “not natural” for them to comment Thursday on the latest ransom demand made by the kidnappers of a Norwegian man along with two Canadians and a Filipina woman. They’re all being held in a Philippines jungle, with a random deadline set for the end of April.
The four hostages were seized at a resort on the island of Samal in the southern Philippines on September 22. The area has long been home to a guerrilla group that now wants the equivalent of NOK 180 million (around USD 21 million) for the hostages’ return.
Norway has a policy of not paying ransom, nor have Filipino authorities been willing to negotiate with the group viewed as terrorists. The kidnappers reportedly lowered their ransom demand in November, but the amount wasn’t confirmed.
Norway’s foreign ministry said Thursday it was aware of a new video posted on social media in which hostage Kjartan Sekkingstad of Sotra outside Bergen is among those pleading for his life. “It’s not natural to comment in detail on the contents (of the video) from our side,” ministry spokesman Rune Gjåstad told news bureau NTB. “We’re following Sekkingstad’s situation closely and working to contribute to a peaceful solution to this case.” The ministry also has ongoing contact with Sekkingstad’s family and others involved in the case.