Jordanian journalist free after 18 months of captivity

CMFR/Philippines – Jordanian journalist Baker Atyani says he escaped  from his Abu Sayyaf captors on 4 December 2013 after 18 months of being held captive in  Sulu province, southern Philippines.

The police in Patikul town in Sulu said they received a report that a kidnap victim had been seen walking around Barangay (village) Igasan, Wednesday night. The kidnap victim was later picked up and identified himself as Baker Atyani.

The kidnap-for-ransom Abu Sayyaf Group abducted Atyani with his two Filipino film crew members, cameraman Ramilito Vela and audio technician Rolando Letrero, on 12 June 2012. The three were in Sulu to film a documentary for Al Arabiya News.

Vela and Letrero were released on 2 February 2013. The two were reportedly separated from Atyani after five days of being kidnapped.

In a video of Atyani aired on ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC), Atyani said he had tried to escape twice before he finally succeeded.

“This time they were really too busy . . . there is no security. The security they imposed on my hut only at night,” Atyani said.

Several journalists have been abducted by the Abu Sayyaf Group since 2000. In June 2008, Philippine broadcaster Ces Drilon and her crew were held captive after what was also supposed to be an interview with Abu Sayyaf.