MANILA – A Dutch national taken hostage by Abu Sayyaf terror group in the Philippines was shot dead on Friday by his captors as he tried to escape after over seven years of his captivity, the Philippine army confirmed to EFE.
Elwold Horn, a 59-year-old wildlife photographer, ran away from his abductors during a gun battle on the southern Sulu island between the army and militants of the group linked to the Islamic State terror network.
However, one of his guards followed the Dutch until he was caught and shot dead, the regional army spokesperson, Gerry Besana, told EFE on telephone.
Six Abu Sayyaf members were killed and another 12 wounded during the firefight with the Philippine armed forces.
The authorities said they were unaware that Horn was with the militants before starting the operation against the terror group. His body was recovered after the clash.
Horn was kidnapped in Feb.2012 when five armed men boarded the boat on which he was traveling along with Swiss national Lorenzo Vinciguerra, who managed to flee in Dec. 2014.
Sulu is one of the strongholds of Abu Sayyaf, a group that has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State and is partially financed by ransoms it demands for its hostages.
The group regained its international notoriety in April 2016, when it beheaded Canadian hostage John Ridsdel, followed by another Canadian, Robert Hall, two months after failing to receive the sum it had demanded for their release within the deadline.
Founded in 1991 by veterans of the Afghanistan war against the former Soviet Union, Abu Sayyaf has its bastions in southern Philippines, where several attacks have been attributed to the group.