Ransom of S$121,989 paid for freed Australian hostage, says negotiator
ZAMBOANGA, Philippines (AFP) - Islamic militants in the lawless southern Philippines were paid US$97,750 (S$121,989) for the release of Warren Rodwell, a negotiator said after the Australian survived 15 months in captivity before rowing to safety.
Mr Al Rashid Sakalahul, vice governor of the strife-torn island province of Basilan, said late Saturday he acted as the negotiator for Mr Rodwell's freedom with a feared leader of an extremist group, known for beheading his victims.
An emaciated Rodwell, a former soldier, 54, was released at Pagadian, a port city on Mindanao island, on Saturday, some 100 kilometres east of where he was kidnapped on December 5, 2011.
Police who picked up Mr Rodwell quoted him as saying he was left in a boat by his captors in the waters between Basilan and Pagadian and told to row to safety.