A Dutch birdwatcher held by Islamic State-linked militants was killed Friday during a firefight between his kidnappers and soldiers in Jolo, according to the military, which said he was shot by his captors as he tried to escape.
Brig. Gen. Divino Rey Pabayo said Ewold Horn, who was kidnapped in 2012, was killed by one of his captors during a 90-minute gun battle in Patikul.
The account could not be immediately confirmed.
“After an hour and thirty minutes of gun battle, troops recovered the remains of Horn and that of Mingayan Sahiron, the second wife of the Abu Sayyaf top leader,” Pabayo said in a statement.
Neither the Dutch Embassy in Manila nor officials in The Hague provided any immediate comment on the military’s account.
Col. Gerry Besana, spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command, said Horn was shot by one of his captors under Abu Sayyaf leader Radullan Sahiron.
Horn was on an expedition to photograph rare birds in Tawi-Tawi when he was abducted by unknown gunmen and turned over to the Abu Sayyaf.
Horn was seized along with Lorenzo Vinciguerra, a Swiss national who managed to escape in 2014 during a gun battle between soldiers and his captors.
The Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for the worst terror attacks in Philippine history, including repeated kidnappings of foreigners who are usually ransomed off for huge amounts.
Philippine officials assert the group was behind the deadly January bombing of a cathedral during Sunday mass that was the worst attack to hit the nation in years.
The bombing was claimed by the Islamic State, which has worked to maintain a presence in the Philippines as its caliphate crumbled in the Middle East. With Francisco Tuyay