In what many are saying is the worst move President Duterte could have made, he has handed-over a massive 50-million peso ransom for the release of the last Samal Island hostage from Abu Sayyaf.
President Duterte told reporters that his administration paid the ransom for Kjartan Sekkingstad but he was never released – sources say the Abu Sayyaf are holding Sekkingstad for even more ransom after making a fool of the new sitting president.
Duterte said “they kept on postponing it [his release] because of the huge sum of money. Millions. The ransom has been paid for the Norwegian,”
Duterte finally told the truth to the reporters on Thursday but many say that the ransom was paid long before the news was actually released, say the money was in fact paid long ago.
Duterte did not respond to questions associated to who exactly paid the ransom for the Norwegian national.
Many believe the Norwegian Ambassador’s visit with Duterte in June is the result of the ransom payment – there, the two leaders spoke openly about the possible negotiation for the release of Sekkingstad.
Ironically a total of 11 battalions have swept the regions of Sulu and have reported that they have wiped out every stronghold held by the Abu Sayyaf – yet, they cannot seem to capture a foreigner kidnapped by the terrorist group.
To add to the mystique of the ransom payment, Duterte is said to have sent the 69th Army battalion to Jolo this week to “crush” the group after it was reported the bandits beheaded a teenage captive.
The huge ransom paid for Sekkingstand gives question to many, “why now” and “why ever” would someone pay P50-million for a hostage when the terrorist group already beheaded fellow Canadian John Ridsdal and Robert Hall?
Critics say this will just lead to more kidnapping and more beheadings to those who refuse or cannot pay the hefty ransom that keeps the Abu Sayyaf going.