A Swiss hostage kidnapped by Philippine terrorist group Abu Sayyaf escaped this weekend using only a knife to fight his captors after government forces fired upon the radical Islamists.
Lorenzo Vinciguerra, 49, was kidnapped alongside his friends Ewold Horn and Ivan Sarenas while the three men were on a bird-watching trip over two years ago.
“So the troops who were operating on the ground were able to recover him in that area of Barangay Timpook, where that incident happened, where they were operating,” said Philippine military spokesman Colonel Restiuto Padilla.
When the government fired upon the group, Vinciguerra grabbed a knife, “hacked an Abu Sayyaf commander and then ran away.” A terrorist shot Vinciguerra, but he survived. “He was wounded, but he’s well and recovering in a hospital,” said regional military commander Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero.
Vincinguerra says he is beyond thrilled to spend Christmas with his family. However, the group still holds his friend Ewold Horn, who has not managed to escape. Sarenas had escaped previously by jumping off a boat and remaining underwater to escape the terrorists. A fisherman rescued him in the water. He is happy for Vincinguerra, but sad Horn is still being held.
“It is not the best news, but it still is good news after so long,” said Sarenas. “I just want to hug Lorenzo for now.”
Vincinguerra hopes the terrorists do not harm his friend and encouraged the group to change their ways.
“My final message to everybody: Put the gun down and come out from the forest,” he said. “It’s a nice life out here.”
Abu Sayyaf, formed in 1991, wishes to implement strict Islamic law in the southern Philippines, which is predominantly Roman Catholic. The group is responsible for bombings, kidnappings, and deaths as they attempt to establish their own state. The group is on America’s terrorist list.