Norway PM says Norwegian citizen taken hostage in Syria

Updated: 2015-09-10 09:23


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OSLO - A Norwegian citizen has been taken hostage by the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria and the Nordic country has refused to pay any ransom, Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Wednesday.

The Norwegian government was made aware of a possible kidnapping of a Norwegian citizen in Syria in late January and a crisis team headed by the Foreign Ministry has worked on it for some time, local newspaper VG quoted Solberg as saying at a press briefing.

"So far as we know he must have been kidnapped inside Syria in late January. He has since been held by different groups, but there is reason to believe that he is now held by IS," she said.

"Norway does not pay ransom. It is a principle we can not waive," Solberg said, adding that payment of ransom will increase the risk for other Norwegian nationals being kidnapped.

The IS group claimed earlier Wednesday in its magazine that it has been holding the Norwegian citizen, identified as Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad, and a Chinese and demanded an unspecified ransom for their release.