Extremists Free Norwegian Hostage in Philippines

A Norwegian hostage held by Abu Sayyaf militants who beheaded two other captives has been freed after a year in captivity, Philippine officials said Saturday. Kjartan Sekkingstad was released on Saturday in Sulu province and handed over to officials. His release comes after the al Qaeda linked Islamist militant group killed two Canadian hostages earlier this year after authorities failed to meet ransom demands. Sekkingstad and the other foreign hostages were abducted by the group from a marina last September. In early July, the group vowed to killed Sekkingstad after failing to receive ransom money. Local media reported after Sekkingstad’s release Saturday that a payment of $20,000 had been made to the militants.