Kidnappers believed to be from the Philippines-based Islamic Abu Sayyaf terrorist group have freed Warren Rodwell, an Australian held captive in the country's south for 15 months.
Rodwell, 54, a former Australian army officer taken at gunpoint near the home he shares with his Filipina wife, was released in Pagadian City, a regional centre on Zamboanga Peninsula, on Friday, the Fairfax Media reported.
As recently as January, the group had threatened to Kill Rodwell.
News.com.au reported that the group had demanded a ransom from the Australian Government in a threat posted on Facebook.
To the Australian government, in behalf of the majlisus Shura of Alharakatul Islamiyya in southern Philippines, we officially inform you that your citizen Warren Rodwell is in our custody and control since he was abducted at Ipil, Sibugay Province, Mindanao Philippines last December 5, 2011 and now facing Islamic sharee’ah... We will give you a chance to save his life before it's too late."
The threat featured a photograph of Rodwell looking gaunt and surrounded by masked gunmen.
Abu Sayyaf is known for its extortion schemes and ties to Al Qaeda.
At one point, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front — considered terrorists by the Philippines government and the US — joined in the manhunt for the kidnapped Australian.
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