Former hostage glad to be back home

Kjartan Sekkingstad, the man from Norway’s west coast who was seized by a guerrilla group in the Philippines last year, landed back in Oslo on Friday following his release last weekend. Sekkingstad said he’d been through “a year in terror.” The 57-year-old former hostage, who already has profusely thanked officials in the Philippines for helping […]

Hostage: ‘We were treated like a slave’

Freed Norwegian hostage Kjartan Sekkingstad, looking haggard and clearly exhausted after spending nearly a year in the clutches of an Islamic guerrilla group in the Philippines, was safe in Manila on Monday and facing many questions about his year captivity. He told reporters that he and his fellow hostages felt like slaves and were “always kept in […]

Brende confirms hostage’s release

Foreign Minister Børge Brende could finally “set our joy free” on Saturday, after a week of intense work to secure the release of Norwegian hostage Kjartan Sekkingstad in the Philippines. Now Brende has been assured by Philippine authorities that Sekkingstad is free and in relatively good shape. Sekkingstad, from Sotra in Western Norway, was seized along […]

Brende condemns latest hostage killing

Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende condemned the “liquidation” of Canadian hostage Robert Hall in the Philippines on Monday. Hall was being held along with three other hostages including his Filipina partner, another Canadian who was killed earlier and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau all but confirmed the death, saying he had “reason […]

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 […]

Foreign ministry mum on new ransom demand

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 […]

Tough week for Refugee Council

As Norway deals with its own influx of asylum seekers, The Norwegian Refugee Council (Flyktninghjelpen) has been dealing with some dramas of its own. A court in Oslo has convicted the humanitarian organization of gross negligence in the case of a kidnapped aid worker, while the organization itself fended off an alleged swindle. The court case has sent shockwaves […]

Hostage takers issue ransom demand

The Filipino insurgent group that kidnapped a Norwegian man, two Canadian men and a Filipina woman in the Philippines in September have finally issued their ransom demands. They want a billion pesos for each of them, or a total of around NOK 180 million (USD 21 million). Norwegian newspaper Bergens Tidende reported on Tuesday that the hostage takers, […]

Islamist group publishes photo of hostages

The Islamist group Abu Sayyaf, known as a terrorist organization in the Philippines, has confirmed it was behind the kidnapping of four hostages including a Norwegian man from a resort on the Philippines island of Samal last month. On Tuesday, the group published a photo of the hostages, who also include two Canadian men and a woman […]

Few developments in hostage dramas

Norway’s foreign ministry has set up crisis teams to deal with the kidnappings of two Norwegians that were reported this month. They haven’t been able to report any major developments in either case, though. Experts think the seizure of Ole-Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad in Syria can drag on for a long time. In that case, Norwegian authorities have […]