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Swiss hostage in Philippines freed

A Swiss man abducted two months ago in the southern Philippines has been freed in a military action.

This content was published on June 16, 2010 - 12:30

Police said the man, who was born in Switzerland but has lived in the Philippines for 40 years, was released in the early hours of Wednesday morning near Zamboanga City on the southern island of Mindanao.

Troops, apparently acting on a tip, had stormed the kidnappers’ hideout along a stretch of coast and surprised the captors, who fled and left the man behind. Reports said the kidnappers had been planning to move the man to another hiding spot.

The mayor of Zamboanga said the 72-year-old businessman had lost weight but that his condition was good given the circumstances.

The man himself spoke about his ordeal at a news conference.

“It was a very trying experience. I saw my life pass before my eyes,” he said, adding that such a situation “makes you want to stay alive and come out of it stronger.”

The Swiss foreign ministry said it was relieved the man had been freed and thanked the Philippines authorities for their actions.

The Swiss was abducted in early April from his home near Patalon, about 40 kilometres from Zamboanga City. The kidnappers, thought to be Islamist rebels, had demanded a ransom of more than €350,000 (SFr487,100).

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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