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Swiss hostage escapes from Abu Sayyaf after 2-year captivity

/ 05:55 PM December 06, 2014

This Jan. 29, 2012 file photo, released by the Tawi-Tawi Provincial Police Office, shows Swiss Lorenzo Vinciguerra at an undisclosed place in the southernmost island province of Tawi-Tawi in the Philippines before heading out to a mountain forest to take pictures of the rare Sulu hornbill. AP

This Jan. 29, 2012 file photo, released by the Tawi-Tawi Provincial Police Office, shows Swiss Lorenzo Vinciguerra at an undisclosed place in the southernmost island province of Tawi-Tawi in the Philippines before heading out to a mountain forest to take pictures of the rare Sulu hornbill. AP

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Swiss national Lorenzo Vinciguerra, one of two European birdwatchers the Abu Sayyaf kidnapped more than two years ago, escaped from captivity by taking advantage of a military strike against his captors in Patikul, Sulu, and apparently even killing one of them Saturday morning.

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At the height of the explosions and as government troops were advancing on an Abu Sayyaf lair in Barangay Timpook, Vinciguerra grabbed the machete of his guard, Juhuri Hussin, according to Col. Alan Arrojado, commander of Joint Task Group Sulu.

“The two grappled for the machete. He was injured by the blade on the cheek. He managed to wrestle it and hacked Hussin on the neck. Apparently, (Vinciguerra) killed him,” Arrojado said in a telephone interview.

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He said Vinciguerra then yelled at Ewold Horn, his Dutch companion, to run but the latter was “very sick and very weak.”

Vinciguerra and Horn were taken captive by a band of Abu Sayyaf bandits as they sailed back to Bongao in Tawi-Tawi on February 1, 2012.

“He dashed while other bandits were shooting at him,” Arrojado said, adding that Vinciguerra did not suffer any bullet wound.

He said the Swiss national was being treated at Camp Bautista hospital in Jolo and “he is stable.”

“He was set to go to Manila as soon as we get a helicopter,” Arrojado said. “He is hoping that (Horn) is still okay.”

Arrojado said the Patikul operation started around 5:20 a.m. and strong wind and rains brought by Typhoon ‘‘Ruby’’ did not deter ground troops from advancing.

“We were able to engage with the Abu Sayyaf Group. We cannot actually give exact details of the ongoing engagement now,” he said.

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Capt. Ma. Rowena Muyuela, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command, said another clash also took place in Talipao town, which is adjacent to Patikul, on Saturday.

As of noon, she said, the Abu Sayyaf had suffered five dead and seven wounded.

The military has launched combat operations in Sulu and in Basilan aimed at rescuing hostages and diminishing the Abu Sayyaf’s capability.

On Thursday, at least six civilians were wounded when they were caught in the crossfire as soldiers and Abu Sayyaf bandits clashed in Al Barka, Basilan.

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TAGS: abu sayyaf, Kidnapping, Lorenzo Vinciguerra, Regions, Sulu, swiss hostage, Zamboanga City
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