Dutchman still captive after assault on Islamic militants in Philippines

Ewold Hold
Undated photo of Ewold HoldPhoto distributed by Tawi Tawi Police

The Netherlands is working intensely on the release of Ewold Horn, who was kidnapped in the Philippines in 2012.

Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs said this on Thursday, the Telegraaf reports. "We are in close contact with the Philippine authorities and have been for a while", he said. "This is a very tragic case of someone who has been kidnapped for a long time and where we make many attempts to get him free."

Horn, from Groningen, was kidnapped in the Philippines in February 2012 by extremist group Abu Sayyaf. The BBC reported on Thursday that two hostages managed to escape Abu Sayyaf during a military raid on the group on Tuesday night. Horn was not one of the two. Up to 15 Abu Sayaff militants died in the raid. Minister Koenders could not confirm this report.

Concerns for Horn's safety spiked in September last year when Abu Sayyaf threatened to kill two German hostages. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would not comment at the time, for fear that this would frustrate behind the scenes negotiations for his release.