Australia welcomes proof Philippines hostage alive

This still image from a video obtained by AFP on December 27, 2012 courtesy of the SITE Monitoring Service shows Australian man Warren Rodwell at an unknown location in the Philippines.

SYDNEY - Foreign Minister Bob Carr welcomed news on Thursday that Australian man Warren Rodwell was alive after being held hostage for more than a year in the Philippines, but said his prolonged captivity was a "major concern".

Rodwell, a 54-year-old former soldier from Sydney, was seized by suspected Muslim extremists from his home in the southern Philippine town of Ipil on December 5, 2011.

In a video the SITE monitoring group said had been posted on a YouTube channel linked to Abu Sayyaf, Rodwell confirms he was captured by that militant group, which was founded in the late 1990s with seed money from Al-Qaeda.

Rodwell says the date is December 16, 2012 and holds up a newspaper from the previous day. He says he was kidnapped 54 weeks ago.

"I'm being held prisoner, kidnapped by (the) Abu Sayyaf Muslim terrorist group for over one year - actually 53, 54 weeks today," Rodwell says in the two-minute video.

"This video clip today is to say that I am alive, I am waiting to be released. I have no idea what's going on outside, I'm just kept held prisoner in isolation."

Carr said the "confirmation of Mr Rodwell's welfare is welcome" but described his prolonged captivity as a "major concern".

"The Philippines government has the lead in response to this case and is devoting significant resources to securing Mr Rodwell's release," Carr said in a statement.

"The Australian government is assisting Philippines authorities where appropriate."

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