JOLO, Philippines, June 24 (UPI) — A Filipino woman held hostage by Abu Sayyaf Islamist militants was released from captivity Friday, a week after they beheaded her Canadian boyfriend.
Marites Flor was among four people abducted nine months ago by the kidnapping-for-ransom Islamist militants in the southern Philippines.
Flor was was dropped off outside the house of local politician Sulu Gov. Abdusakur “Totoh” Tan II in Jolo, the main island in Sulu, a southern archipelago known as a hideout of the militants.
“She is physically OK,” said Tan.
Another politician from the area, Jesus Dureza, said he had negotiated Flor’s release with the kidnappers on behalf of Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
“She told me her captors roused her at dawn and ordered her to pack up, telling her: ‘You are going home,'” said Dureza.
According to a source, Abu Rami said they allegedly received $426,000 in exchange for the release of Flor.
The freed hostage later joined Dureza on a private jet to meet Duterte in the southern city of Davao. Duterte, who has promised a major crackdown on crime in the Philippines, will become president on June 30.
The fate of the fourth hostage, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, remains unknown. He was seized along with Flor and the two Canadians on Sept. 21 aboard yachts at a tourist resort on Samal island. They were taken to Samu, about 310 miles away.
Abu Sayyaf is said to have made a $6.4 million ransom demand for Sekkingstad’s release. A similar amount was was wanted for the Canadians. The group has earned millions of dollars from kidnappings in recent years.
Flor’s ordeal ended on the same day Indonesian authorities announced that seven Indonesian sailors have been kidnapped at sea off the southern Philippines where Abu Sayyaf is known to operate.
So far in 2016, 14 other Indonesian hostages and four Malaysians have been freed.