Abus free Jordanian journalist PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 06 December 2013 11:12

A Jordanian journalist who was seized by Abu Sayyaf militants more than one year ago in Sulu was freed last  Wednesday.

Police said Baker Atyani was found around 7 p.m. in Barangay Igasan, Patikul town.

Col. Jose Cenabre, commander of Joint Task Force Sulu, said Atyani was brought to the integrated provincial health office for checkup, then to the Sulu provincial police office for debriefing.

Atyani disappeared in June 2012 and was believed to have been abducted by the Abu Sayyaf.

He disappeared along with his Filipino TV crew members Romelito Vela and Roland Letrico, who were freed last February after a reported payment of ransom.

Al Arabiya News Channel, for whom Atyani worked as a correspondent, said in a statement that Atyani was released after months of joint efforts.

“Concerted efforts that lasted for 18 months led to the release of Al Arabiya correspondent Baker Atyani held in captivity under militant groups in the Sulu Islands in the Philippine province of Mindanao,” it said.

It cited a source that said the kidnappers were part of the Abu Sayyaf, and that they “handed over Atyani to the lgovernor’s office on Wednesday evening.”

Also, it said Philippine authorities will arrange for his return to Jordan.

Al Arabiya said Atyani is “suffering from health problems due to his long period of his captivity.”

“There will be more details released later, but for now there is an overwhelming feeling of joy and relief that our colleague Baker will finally be re-joining his family and re-joining us,” it quoted an editor inside the channel as saying.

It also said Atyani was released after several calls by the Cairo-based al-Azhar, Jerusalem Grand Mufti and the Islamic scholars of Mindanao, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and Palestinian President Mahmoud.

The channel cited as well “continuous follow-up by the Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) and in close cooperation with his family.”

For his part, MBC Chairman Sheikh Walid al-Ibrahim congratulated Atyani’s family and Al Arabiya News Channel on the release.

Al Arabiya General Manager Abdulrahman al-Rashed described Atyani as “one of the most important correspondents who covered the war in Afghanistan and the fighting in Pakistan.” — With report from GMA News