MANILA, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Richard Warren Rodwell, the retired Australian soldier who was kidnapped in the restive Southern Philippines in December 2011, was finally released by the rebel group of Abu Sayyaf early Saturday, a military commander said.
Major General Ricardo Rainier Cruz, commander of the Army's 1st Infantry Division, said in a phone interview that Mr. Rodwell is fine, based on information that reached him from lower units.
Cruz said Rodwell was released at around 1:30 a.m. at the Fisheries Center of Pagadian, the capital of the southern Philippine province of Zamboanga del Sur. After Rodwell was founded, he was taken to Zamboanga city, said Cruz. "The vice governor of Basilan (Al Rasheed Sakalahul) negotiated( for his release)," said Cruz. It was not immediately clear whether ransom was paid for the victim's release.
According to 1st Infantry Division Spokesman Major Edgardo Amores, Rodwell was found by local civilians in Pagadian, to where he was transported by his captives from Basilan, the place he had been kept. "He was seen by civilians who then informed authorities, they informed the maritime personnel of the police at the pier. He is being checked (for his medical condition)..He is in a secured place," said Amores.
Rodwell was kidnapped by seven men at his residence in Zamboanga City in December 2011 and later brought to Basilan, a known bailiwick area of the Abu Sayyaf.
The Abu Sayyaf was founded in the 1990s and had since perpetrated a number of high-profile attacks, including kidnapping and bombing.