FOLLOWING the release of Filipina captive Marites Flor, Malacañang said Friday that the military operation against terrorist group Abu Sayyaf continue to rescue Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the government was verifying reports that Flor had been freed on Friday dawn and is now in the custody of the Joint Task Force Sulu.
Despite the positive development, Coloma said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) would exert all efforts to save Sekkingstad.
"[We are] verifying with AFP on release. AFP continues to pursue ASG bandits until all captives are freed or rescued safely," Coloma said in a text message.
Earlier in the day, Western Mindanao Command Major Filemon Tan said that Flor had been set free and was found in front of the residence of Sulu Governor Abdusakar Tan in Barangay Asturias in Jolo.
A native of Bukidnon, Flor was abducted in September last year with Sekkingstad, and Canadians Robert Hall and John Ridsdel.
The terrorist group beheaded Hall and Ridsdel after the deadline for the ransom payment had lapsed. Hall was beheaded last week while Ridsdel was decapitated in April. (Sunnex)