ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, commander of Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), expressed the military’s belief that Abu Sayyaf hostage, Dutchman Ewold Horn, is still alive despite reports alleging that Horn had passed away from a heart condition.
Guerrero said on Monday, December 8, that he believed that Horn is still alive and being held captive in the mountains of Patikul; a theory which was corroborated by escaped hostage, Swiss national Lorenzo Vinciguerra.
Vinciguerra fled from the Abu Sayyaf last Saturday, after he managed to grab the machete from the rebel standing watch over them in the jungles of Patikul, Sulu. The Swiss man managed to hack the guard on the neck, enabling his escape.
He was found by security forces in Barangay Timpook in Patikul, Sulu and subsequently taken to Camp Navarro Hospital in Zamboanga City, before being flown to Manila
Unconfirmed reports said that Horn, who was in poor health, had died. Vinciguerra, however, insisted that the Dutchman is still alive, although in a weakened state.
“Vinciguerra revealed that Horn was too weak to join him in his escape. No report whatsoever of Horn succumbing to an ailment. We believe Horn is still alive along with other kidnap victims,” Guerrero said.
Vinciguerra, 49, and Horn, both birdwatchers, were grabbed by the Abu Sayyaf on February 1, 2012 in Tawi-Tawi.
Their Filipino guide, Ivan Sarenas, was also abducted, but managed to escape by jumping overboard, as they made their way by boat to Sulu.
Guerrero assured that the military has not relented in their operations to rescue Horn, and all other remaining hostages of the Abu Sayyaf.