Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Philippine militants release Jordanian journalist - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

File photo—In this photo taken on Monday June 11, 2012, veteran Middle Eastern TV reporter Baker Atyani poses by the sea wall in Jolo, the capital of the island province of Sulu in Southern Philippines. (AP Photo/Nickee Butlangan)

File photo—In this photo taken on Monday June 11, 2012, veteran Middle Eastern TV reporter Baker Atyani poses by the sea wall in Jolo, the capital of the island province of Sulu in Southern Philippines. (AP Photo/Nickee Butlangan)

Manila, AP—Militants in the southern Philippines have released veteran Jordanian TV journalist Baker Atyani, who had been held captive for a year and a half, officials said Wednesday.

Atyani and his two Filipino crewmen were kidnapped in June 2012 by Abu Sayyaf militants whom they had sought to interview in the jungles of Sulu province. His two companions were freed last February, but Atyani, who gained prominence for interviewing Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan a few months before the September 11, 2001, attacks, remained in captivity.

Philippine military commander Colonel Jose Cenabre said Wednesday that Atyani, an Al Arabiya News Channel correspondent, had been freed.

Al Arabiya said in a statement that the kidnappers handed over Atyani to the local governor’s office Wednesday evening and that Philippine authorities will secure his return to Jordan.

The militants now hold about 16 captives in their jungle strongholds in predominantly Muslim Sulu, including two European bird watchers who were kidnapped last year.

While Abu Sayyaf abductions still occur, they are far fewer today than the massive kidnappings that terrorized Sulu and outlying provinces in the early 2000s, when the group had many commanders and strong ties with terrorist organizations, including Indonesian-based Jemaah Islamiyah.

US-backed military offensives have crippled the Abu Sayyaf in recent years, but it remains a key security threat. Washington lists the group as a terrorist organization.

The Philippines is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. In 2009, at least 31 media workers were among 57 people massacred allegedly by members of a powerful clan in the country’s south.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

More Posts

Follow Me:
FacebookGoogle PlusYouTube