Birdwatcher Held 7 Years Is Killed During Rescue Raid

Dutch photographer Ewold Horn was kidnapped by militants in Philippines in 2012
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2019 9:09 AM CDT
Birdwatcher Held 7 Years Is Killed During Rescue Raid
In this 2012 photo, Ewold Horn, left, talks to Lorenzo Vinciguerra at an undisclosed place in the southernmost island province of Tawi-Tawi in the Philippines before heading out to a mountain forest to take pictures of the rare Sulu hornbill. Both were abducted.   (AP Photo/Tawi-Tawi Police Provincial Office)

He'd survived seven years of captivity by militants in the jungle in the Philippines, but Ewold Horn did not live through a daring rescue attempt by soldiers. The 59-year-old Dutch birdwatcher/photographer was killed when Filipino soldiers engaged in a 90-minute firefight with Abu Sayyaf militants on the island of Sulu, reports the Washington Post. “Horn was shot by one of his guards when he tried to escape," says Brigadier General Divino Rey Pabayo. Horn had been held captive since 2012, when he was seized with another man while they were photographing birds on the island of Tawi-Tawi.

His fellow hostage, Lorenzo Vinciguerra of Switzerland, escaped during a similar government raid in 2014, reports the New York Times. During that mission, Vinciguerra managed to take a guard's knife and stab him in the neck before fleeing. Horn, however, was not able to repeat the feat. "What a pity. He nearly escaped, but was shot," says Col. Gerry Besana. Pabayo accused Abu Sayyaf of "barbaric acts," given that they would rather kill Horn than see him rescued. Filipino soldiers recovered Horn's body. (This is the same militant group blamed for a deadly church bombing earlier this year.)

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