UPDATED: Soldiers in the Philippines stormed an area in the southern portion of the country Tuesday where local insurgents were still holding two hostages kidnapped last autumn, one of whom is a Norwegian. Two of the other hostages have already been killed by their captors, the militant group Abu Sayyaf, which has been demanding ransom that Norwegian officials refuse to pay.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK), citing media in the Philippines (external link), reported that three members of Abu Sayyaf were killed and many others including both insurgents and soldiers were wounded.
The fate of Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad initially remained unclear, but later in the week, the army reported that his fellow hostage, Marites Flor of the Philippines, was set free. News bureau AFP reported that police said they didn’t know whether any ransom had been paid. They also said they believed Sekkingstad was still alive and “in good health.”
Sekkingstad was kidnapped while working as a yacht club manager on November 22 last year along with two Canadians and Flor. The Canadians were killed earlier this year.