Daring escape by Swiss hostage in Philippines

Lorenzo Vinciguerra, held by Abu Sayyaf for two years, dashes to freedom after hacking one rebel commander.

Some factions of the Abu Sayyaf have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [Al Jazeera]

A Swiss hostage has escaped from the armed group Abu Sayyaf in southern Philippines, after hacking one rebel commander and getting shot as he dashed to freedom, ending more than two years of jungle captivity, security officials said.

Lorenzo Vinciguerra, 49, made his daring escape after government forces fired artillery rounds in the jungle camp where he was being held near mountainous Patikul town in Sulu province in Mindanao, government officials said on Saturday.

 Vinciguerra and the Dutchman were held in the restive southern Philippine island of Sulu.

Vinciguerra hacked an Abu Sayyaf commander and ran away but was shot and wounded by members of the armed group.

Government forces later found him and brought him to safety.

“He was wounded but he’s well and recovering in a hospital,” regional military commander Lieutenant General Rustico Guerrero told the Associated Press news agency by telephone.

Vinciguerra was one of two European bird watchers seized by the armed group in nearby Tawi Tawi province in February 2012.

It was not immediately clear what happened to the other hostage, a Dutchman identified by AP as Ewold Horn.

A Filipino guide who was with them had jumped into the sea and escaped while the armed group were taking them by boat from Tawi Tawi to Jolo island in Sulu, an impoverished, predominantly Muslim province where the Abu Sayyaf has endured years of US-backed military offensives.

The Abu Sayyaf is a collective of Islamic preachers and armed groups that has vowed to wage a holy war, in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation.

The US has listed the Abu Sayyaf as a “terrorist” group and blames it for deadly attacks on American troops, foreign missionaries and tourists and civilians in the south.

Source: AP