Militants release partner of beheaded hostage after president intervenes

A hostage held by a notorious kidnapping-for-ransom gang in the strife-torn southern Philippines was released from captivity on Friday a week after her Canadian boyfriend was beheaded. Marites Flor, who was among four people abducted nine months ago by Abu Sayyaf Islamic militants, was freed in Sulu, a southern archipelago known as a hideout of the militants. She was left outside the house of a local politician, following negotiations with her kidnappers on behalf of incoming president Rodrigo Duterte. Ms Flor, whose partner, Robert Hall, was killed last week when a ransom deadline passed, was later taken on a private jet for a meeting with Mr Duterte.

She told me her captors roused her at dawn and ordered her to pack up, telling her: ‘You are going home,’

Jesus Dureza, who negotiated her release

The four hostages were seized in September aboard yachts at a tourist resort on Samal island, about 500km (300 miles) to the west of Sulu. The fate of Norwegian hostage Kjartan Sekkingstad, who was abducted along with Flor and two Canadians, remained unknown. The other Canadian hostage, John Ridsdel, was also beheaded in April. The militants, who have made their base in mountainous island hideouts, have earned millions of dollars from kidnappings in recent years. Ms Flor’s ordeal ended on the same day Indonesian authorities announced that seven Indonesian sailors have been kidnapped at sea off the southern Philippines where Abu Sayyaf is known to operate.