Australian Warren Rodwell has finally been released by the al-Qaida offshoot in the Philippines, Abu Sayyaf, after being kept hostage for 15 months. Rodwell was released on the island of Mindanao.
Rodwell, hailing from Sydney, had shifted base to the Philippines in 2011 after getting married. He ran a shop with his wife in the town of Ipil on the Mindanao islands before he was abducted by Abu Sayyaf militants in December 2011.
The terror organisation had demanded $2mn (£1.3mn) from the Australian government as ransom in a video clip released last year. They released another video posted on social media websites to provide proof that the Australian citizen was still alive.
(Courtesy: jerico lirico, YouTube)
The Australian government has a tough stand on not paying ransom to get its citizens freed.
Foreign affairs minister Bob Carr confirmed the Australian government's policy. "The Australian government never pays ransoms - to do so would leave Australians exposed in all parts of the world to kidnappers who'd be motivated by a desire to get money and to get it fast from the Australian government," the minister told ABC TV shortly after Rodwell was freed by his captors.
On asked whether the Australian government had struck a deal with the kidnappers, senator Carr chose to commend the efforts made by the Philippines government to get Rodwell freed. He also praised the hard work done by Australian officials in Manila and Canberra, including the Australian Federal Police and Defence.
"The Philippines government had a lead role in this case and deserve congratulations for their tireless efforts on Mr Rodwell's behalf," he said.
Senator Carr also confirmed that Rodwell would be moved to a safe location.