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An Australian man has been released 15 months after being captured by Philippine Abu Sayyaf rebels.

54-year-old former solider Warren Rodwell was kidnapped in December 2011 from his home in Mindanao by men posing as police.

He had since appeared in several proof-of-life videos posted on the Internet by the militants. The rebel group had demanded nearly two million euros in ransom but it is unclear whether any money was paid for his freedom.

Generso Cerbo, a spokesman for the Philippine National Police, said locals saw him walking near the fishing port where his abductors dropped him off and that test are now being carried out to assess his medical condition.

Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard welcomed news of Rodwell’s release and also paid tribute to the Philippine government.

Rodwell was one of several foreigners kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf militants. The group, fighting for self rule, is still holding one Dutch, one Swiss and a Japanese national hostage on the islands of Jolo and Basilan.

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