Sep 222016

Abu Sayyaf gunmen have released an Indonesian captive in Sulu province, the military said, as freed Norwegian captive Kjartan Sekkingstad flew out of the Philippines on Thursday.

Herman Bin Manggak, 32, was released to the Moro National Liberation Front and later handed over to concerned Joint Task Force Sulu members.

The Abu Sayyaf abducted Manggak in waters off Sandakan in Sabah on Aug. 3, 2016.

A report from the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) said the victim was brought to Camp Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital for medical examination and debriefing before being turned over to Wesmincom authorities.

Brig. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, joint task force commander, said the release was a result of the continued military offensives of the joint task force against Abu Sayyaf members, who have split into smaller groups to evade the pursuing soldiers.

The good news came as freed Norwegian hostage Kjartan Sekkingstad left on Thursday, days after the Abu Sayyaf group freed him from nearly a year in captivity. Two Canadian nationals kidnapped with him in the southern city of Davao have been beheaded, while a fourth victim, a Filipina, was freed months into captivity.

The lanky Norwegian, now clean-shaven, boarded at around 1:30 p.m. Thai Airways flight TG-621 to Bangkok at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1.

Escorted by Norwegian Embassy officials, Sekkingstad was headed to catch a connecting flight to Oslo.

Sekkingstad was abducted on Sept. 21, 2015, from a resort in Samal Island along with Canadian nationals John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, as well as Filipino Tess Flor Hall.

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