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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Hostage-takers set yet another deadline

An Islamist terrorist group in the Philippines has released yet another video in which it threatens to kill three hostages, one of whom is expatriate Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad. The terrorists claim they’ll kill all three if their ransom demands are not met.

Sekkingstad was kidnapped last September along with two Canadian men and a Filipina woman from a yacht club where he’d been working in the southern Philippines. The Abu Sayaf terror group has been active in the area for years and claimed responsibility for the kidnappings in November.

The group killed one of the four hostages, John Ridsdel of Canada, last month after the Canadian government refused to meet their ransom demands. The Norwegian government has also refused to pay up, in line with state policy.

Website Nettavisen reported that in the video released last week, Sekkingstad is portrayed as pleading for his life, and appealing to authorities in both Norway, Canada and the Philippines to pay the ransom demand. Officials at Norway’s foreign ministry said they were aware of the new video but declined to comment on it directly.

“We are working to contribute towards the best possible solution in this case,” Rune Bjåstad of the ministry told news bureau NTB. “The most important things for us are the hostages’ life and health and supporting their  families.” Sekkingstad’s family has earlier expressed understanding that the government won’t bow to ransom demands. staff



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