Islamist militants in the southern Philippines are still holding captive 12 foreign hostages and four Filipinos, the military said Monday.
Over the weekend, the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf released six hostages – a Norwegian man, three Indonesians and two Filipinos – on the island of Jolo.
Kjartan Sekkingstad was freed on Saturday, followed by the Indonesian fishermen. On Sunday, Abu Sayyaf freed two Filipinos abducted in August.
"There remain 12 foreign hostages in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf, and there are four locals also in their hands," Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said.
"We believe that most of these hostages are still in good condition," he added. "We are aiming to rescue or recover them safely."
Among the remaining hostages is Dutch birdwatcher Eworld Horn, kidnapped in February 2012 with a Swiss man and a Filipino guide, who escaped immediately after they were taken.
Swiss citizen Lorenzo Vinciguerra escaped in December 2014.
Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Ramie said a ransom of 30 million pesos (638,200 dollars) was paid for Sekkingstad's release, but he did not say who paid the money.
Local media reports added that 10 million pesos was paid for each of the three Indonesians.
The Philippine government has a no-ransom policy, but authorities have admitted that they are unable to stop other parties from paying.
Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for some of the deadliest attacks in the Philippines, aside from high-profile kidnappings of foreign hostages.
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