Released Norwegian hostage Kjartan Sekkingstad, right, briefly delivers his statement after meeting Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao city in southern Philippines Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Manman Dejeto)
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A notorious kidnapping-for-ransom gang in the strife-torn southern Philippines enjoyed another lucrative payday when it released a Norwegian hostage after a year in captivity, analysts said Monday.A bearded and bedraggled Kjartan Sekkingstad was released Saturday on a remote southern island after what analysts said was almost certainly a payment in the thousands of dollars after the Abu Sayyaf demanded millions. Security analysts said the Abu Sayyaf would never release a hostage without ransom.Duterte himself had said last month that 50 million pesos ($1 million) had been paid for Sekkingstad's release.In 2014 the Abu Sayyaf boasted of receiving 250 million pesos for two German hostages it freed after six months in captivity.In 2013 the militants also released an Australian ex-soldier after holding him for 15 months, with a local politician who acted as a negotiator saying ransom was paid.
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