A Norwegian man freed after almost a year held by the Abu Sayyaf terror groupsaid he and his fellow captives, two of whom were beheaded, were treated like slaves and that he was regularly threatened with execution.
Kjartan Sekkingstad was one of four people seized by the extremists at a resort he ran on Samal Island in the southern Philippines. Two of his fellow captives, Canadians John Ridsel and Robert Hall, were decapitated this year. A Philippine woman, Marites Flor, was freed in June.
“I am very happy to be alive and free,” Mr. Sekkingstad told reporters following a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte and Norwegian Embassy officials in Davao City. “It’s a wonderful feeling.”
When he arrived in Davao City, Mr. Sekkingstad was bearded, wearing a camouflage jacket and carrying a backpack he said had stopped a bullet and saved his life in a clash between troops and militants. He was clean-shaven and wearing fresh clothes when he met the president.
Mr. Sekkingstad told reporters the Abu Sayyaf militants had forced him and the other hostages to act as porters, the Associated Press reported. He said that after the beheadings began, he was told constantly that he would be executed, AP reported, and that he survived several clashes between the Islamists and Philippine troops.
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Image courtesy of AP