A freed Norwegian hostage yesterday described his psychological torture as he heard his friends being beheaded by Islamic militants during a year-long captivity in the southern Philippines.
A heavily bearded and gaunt Kjartan Sekkingstad, who was released on Saturday by the feared AbuSayyaf group, also said he narrowly survived military attacks agains this captors, with a bullet piercing his back pack.
“Basically, I’ve been treated like a slave, carrying their stuff around, and from time to time being abused,” he said as he was received by a government envoy in the town of Indanan on the island of Jolo.
Also released were three Indonesians, who were also turned over to envoy Jesus Dureza.
Sekkingstad, 57, said he endured psychological pressure, with the Abu Sayyaf threatening several times to behead him.
He was abducted in September last year from the Philippine tourist resort which he managed and was taken to Jolo by the Abu Sayyaf.
Two Canadian resort guests captured with him, John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, were later beheaded by the group after a ransom demand was not met.
Sekkingstad said that during the separate killings in April and June, the two handcuffed Canadians were escorted out of sight, “but still close enough that you could hear their cries when it happened”.
The Abu Sayyaf handed the Norwegian over to another Muslim rebel leader, Nur Misuari, whose group assisted in the release.
Sekkingstad and Dureza then flew to Davao to meet Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
It was unclear if any ransom waspaid and, if so, by whom.