Report: Missing journalist in Abu Sayyaf's hands-A A +A
Sunday, June 17, 2012
ZAMBOANGA CITY (Updated 4:23 p.m.) -- Police authorities are verifying reports that Jordanian television reporter Baker Abdulla Atyani and his two Filipino crewmen are in the custody of an Abu Sayyaf spiritual leader in Sulu province.
The Integrated Police Operation Western Mindanao received an unconfirmed report saying Atyani and his crew are held captive by Yasser Igasa, leader of the Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu province, according to a radio report.
The authorities said Atyani may have traveled to Jolo's mountainous jungles to seek an interview with Abu Sayyaf bandits and some of their foreign hostages as part of a TV documentary on the southern Philippines, a military intelligence official told The Associated Press.
Another unconfirmed report also said the three are held captive by Abu Sayyaf commander Tahil Sali.
Atyani and his crew arrived Monday in Jolo, a hotbed of militants notorious for bomb attacks, kidnappings and beheadings about 950 kilometers (590 miles) south of Manila.
The three men left their Jolo hostel early Tuesday and were picked up by a minivan. They failed to show up for Philippine Independence Day rites later that day despite telling officials they would cover the event.
Atyani is a veteran Middle Eastern TV reporter who had interviewed Osama bin Laden months before the September 11, 2001 attacks. He is Al-Arabiya's TV bureau chief in Southeast Asia. (Sunnex)