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Swiss Hostage Escapes From Philippine Militants

Soldiers stand guard on a road as they are deployed to remote villages in Jolo, Sulu southern Philippines, Oct. 17, 2014.

A Swiss wildlife photographer who was kidnapped by Islamic militants in the Philippines nearly three years ago has been rescued on a southern island, a military official said Saturday.

Lorenzo Vinciguerra escaped from Abu Sayyaf rebels on the island of Sulu Saturday, killing one of them with a machete as he made a break for freedom during a clash between the insurgents and government troops, Colonel Allan Arrojado, commander of the army's Joint Task Group, told reporters.

He was wounded in the escape and has been hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, Arrojado said.

A Dutchman captured with Vinciguerra, Ewold Horn, has not been rescued and there was no information about him.

The military said five militants were killed and seven wounded in the firefight.

The two were photographing rare birds in 2012 on a remote island group in the southern Philippines when they were kidnapped.

The military launched an offensive against Abu Sayyaf in October after the rebels released two German nationals they captured in April.

The Abu Sayyaf are the most notorious of several rebels factions in the Muslim south of the largely Christian Philippines.

Washington has blamed the terrorist group for deadly attacks on American troops, foreign missionaries, tourists and civilians in the south.