Australia applauds Philippines after release of captive

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr Saturday welcomed the release of a man held for 15 months by Islamic militants in the Philippines, congratulating that country on its handling of the case.

Carr confirmed that Warren Rodwell, who was kidnapped from his home in the south of the country on December 5, 2011, had been released from captivity in Mindanao overnight.

"The Philippines government had the lead role in this case and deserve congratulations for their tireless efforts on Mr Rodwell's behalf," Carr said in a statement.

"I'm advised Mr Rodwell is now in the company of Philippines authorities, our deputy ambassador Andrew Byrne and a representative of the Australian Defence Force and will be moved to a safe location," Carr said.

Philippines military sources said Rodwell had been released in Pagadian city, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of Ipil, the southern Philippine town where Rodwell had been living with his Filipina wife before he was taken.

Carr said all Australians would be wishing Rodwell, who is aged in his 50s, well as he recovers from his 15 months in captivity.

"This is great news for Mr Rodwell and his family," Carr said.

"The Rodwell family has shown enormous courage throughout this ordeal.

"The focus now is on Mr Rodwell's speedy recovery."

During his time in captivity Rodwell's kidnappers, members of the Abu Sayyaf militant group, had released a series of video clips as proof he was still in their custody.

In one of the videos, Rodwell said his captors were demanding US$2 million in ransom. It was unclear Saturday if any ransom money was paid for his release.

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