Rodwell recovers in hospital after hostage ordeal

Australian Warren Rodwell is recovering in hospital in the Philippines after being released by terrorists who held him captive for 15 months.

ABC

The Australian held hostage for 15 months by terrorists is recovering in hospital in the Philippines after being released.

An emaciated Warren Rodwell was released in the early hours of Saturday morning in the Philippines.

The 54-year-old former soldier was abducted from his home on the island of Mindanao in December 2011 by armed Abu Sayyaf militants, who demanded $US2 million ($1.9 million) for his freedom.

Mr Rodwell is now in a Mindanao hospital recovering with his sister at his side.

A spokesman for the Philippine police Generoso Cerbu says Mr Rodwell is being assessed by medical staff.

"He's now undergoing medical treatment and we're assessing his medical condition," he said.

"Representatives of the Australian Federal Police are now with him and as far as know, the Australian embassy has also sent a representative to look after him."

Foreign Minister Bob Carr refused to give details of how Mr Rodwell came to be released, saying only that arrangements were made between the Rodwell family and his captors with the help of the Philippines authorities.

The Australian government had refused to negotiate with Abu Sayyaf his release, so his family raised the ransom money.

It is understood a price was finally agreed upon for his release last week.

Family's relief

Mr Rodwell's cousin, who only wishes to be identified as Susan, says the family is relieved.

"We're really happy and we're really relieved and we're looking forward to getting him back home to Australia," she said.

"It's been very stressful for everyone involved."

Abu Sayyaf expert Maria Ressa said a ransom of more than $100,000 was paid to a series of go-betweens and finally the kidnappers.

"Do not pay ransom, you will not get the people they kidnapped," she said.

"The money by the time it reached the kidnappers from the local government officials and the middle men that they used had been depleted, so... another infusion of cash."

Mr Carr would not elaborate but said the Australian Government did not pay any ransom money.

"Just be clear that the Australian Government never pays ransoms," he told .

"To do so would leave Australians exposed in all parts of the world to kidnappers who would be motivated by a desire to get money and to get it fast from the Australian Government.

"I won't comment on arrangements that may have been made by Mr Rodwell's family and Abu Sayyaf, made through the Philippines anti-kidnapping unit and their police force."

However, Ms Ressa said local officials working with the Philippines police anti-kidnapping squad conducted the negotiations to secure Mr Rodwell's release, often with Mr Rodwell himself.

"They let the person they kidnap negotiate," she said.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs strongly advises Australians to avoid travel to southern Philippines which has been a volatile region for decades.

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