Saturday, 6 December 2014

Swiss photographer held hostage in Philippines by Islamic extremists for two years ESCAPES


A Swiss wildlife photographer who was held hostage by Islamic extremists for more than two years has dramatically escaped to his freedom by cutting his captor's throat with a machete.
Hostage Lorenzo Vinciguerra bravely fled from his kidnappers during a clash between insurgents and governments troops in the southern Philippines.

The 49-year-old and Dutch photographer Ewold Horn had been captured in February 2012 by rebels of the Aby Sayyaf group while on a bird-watching trip in Tawi-Tawi province.
Today, a Philippine officer revealed how, as gunfire broke out between the two sides in the remote jungle where he was kept, the photographer began wrestling with his guard to grab the machete.
Despite being wounded on his left cheek during the attack, Mr Vinciguerra finally prised the machete from the guard's hand and managed to slit his neck.
He then fled from his abductors, who had been keeping him on the southern island of Jolo, Mindanao.   
Talking to reporters by text message, Colonel Allan Arrojado, commander of the army's Joint Task Group on the island of Sulu, said: 'He dashed while other bandits were shooting at him.'
According to Arrojado, Mr Vinciguerra also shouted at Mr Horn run but the Dutch man was said to have been 'very sick and very weak' and unable to escape.
He added that there was no word on Horn's whereabouts.
Switzerland's Foreign Ministry said Mr Vinciguerra was in good health considering the circumstances.
He is still in the custody of the Philippines armed forces and will return to Switzerland as soon as possible, he said. 
In a statement, the ministry added that it greatly regretted that Horn was 'still in captivity'. It did not elaborate further. 
The Philippines armed forces said five militants were killed and seven wounded in the firefight.
The two European wildlife photographers were taken captive in Tawi-Tawi province as they were sailing on a bird-watching trip in February 2012.
The Abu Sayyaf is holding several other foreign and Filipino hostages.
The military launched an offensive against the Abu Sayyaf in October after the rebels released two German nationals they seized in April.
The Abu Sayyaf are the most notorious of several rebels factions in the Muslim south of the largely Christian Philippines. 


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