Jordan confirms reporter¿s abduction

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Jordan¿s foreign ministry has confirmed that Al Arabiya journalist Baker Atyani was kidnapped in Sulu, a Jordanian newspaper reported Wednesday even as Philippine authorities remained uncertain about the status of the TV reporter and two Filipino cameramen.

In a report, the Jordan Times quoted the Middle Eastern country¿s foreign ministry as confirming that Atyani, a veteran TV reporter who interviewed Osama bin Laden months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, went missing on June 12 together with two Manila-based cameramen¿Rolando Letrero and Ramelito Vela¿while pursuing a reporting assignment in Southern Philippines.

¿Efforts exerted via the Jordanian embassy in Tokyo and our consul in Manila have confirmed that Atyani was kidnapped. We are following up on the case in order to secure his safe release," the Jordan Times quoted Jordan¿s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Sabah Rafei as saying.

The newspaper said Rafei did not elaborate.

Philippine authorities are still unconvinced that Atyani has actually been kidnapped and believe he and the two Filipino cameramen are in some upland area pursuing a story with the clandestine Abu Sayyaf, an extremist Islamist group associated with the al-Qaeda terrorist network.

However, a separate Inquirer source, peace advocate and former kidnap victim Octavio Dinampo, believed the kidnap reports were reliable, adding that the Al Arabiya team may have been taken by the same group that held for ransom a local ABS-CBN crew led by Ces Drilon in 2008. Ransom demands may have been relayed directly to the journalist¿s family in Jordan, he said.

Atyani and his two Filipino companions interviewed Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan at 10:00 a.m. on June 11. They were last seen the next morning boarding a tricycle that came to fetch them at the hotel.

Dinampo said the information he got from his sources indicated that the Abu Sayyaf, or whatever group has them, has decided to keep the three in exchange for money.

He said the information shared to him was that the Abu Sayyaf wants P50 million for the three men and that the demand was relayed directly to the Jordanian¿s family.

Citing his experience as an Abu Sayyaf hostage, Dinampo said the information on the kidnapping could be reliable.

He said when the Abu Sayyaf took him and the ABS-CBN team led by Ces Drilon in June 2008, the bandit group also by-passed authorities and directly contacted their families.

¿When we were kidnapped by this same group, Ces was forced to give the number of a person to relay the demand to. Baker was allegedly requested to do the same," he said.

But the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Atyani and the two Filipinos were still considered missing, and efforts were being made to locate them, albeit short of launching a search-and-rescue operation.

There has been no ransom demand that has been reported or that has come to light," added President Aquino¿s deputy spokesperson, Abigail Valte, in a separate interview.

¿We have speculations that they are just working (on their documentary). But because of their prolonged disappearance, we need to find ways to determine where they are," said Philippine National Police Director General Nicanor Bartolome said.

Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan expressed his displeasure at Atyani, saying he would have the journalist arrested and deported when he emerges from the Abu Sayyaf lair.

¿I will have him arrested. I will have him investigated for promoting these criminals and then we will deport him," Tan fumed.

¿We are not really giving much attention to that (kidnapping report). We have many things to attend to than to try to find a person who is hiding," he said.

He also faulted Rolando Letrero and Ramelito Vela ¿because they agreed to go with that fool."

¿That¿s their fault," he said.

However, Tan admitted that he has accepted a deal with the Moro National Liberation Front, which offered to help locate Atyani.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Mercy pleas for Indonesia death row inmates as families arrive
    Mercy pleas for Indonesia death row inmates as families arrive

    Families of foreign drug convicts set to be hauled before the firing squad in Indonesia issued desperate mercy pleas on Saturday, as France warned of "diplomatic consequences" if one of its nationals is executed. Consular officials and relatives were arriving at a town near Nusakambangan, the high-security prison island where Indonesian executions are carried out, and where all of the death row convicts are now congregated. The foreigners -- two from Australia, one each from Brazil, France …

  • United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot
    United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft, and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington's next phase in its Asia "pivot", deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia "pivot" has already seen U.S. Marines rotating through the …

  • China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit
    China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit

    China's creation of new island footholds in contested seas will hover over a Southeast Asian summit that has become an annual test of the region's nerve in standing up to its massive neighbour. The South China Sea hot potato drops this year into Malaysia's lap as the rotating chair of the 10 member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and host of Monday's meeting. ASEAN states Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the strategic South China Sea, but Beijing …

  • Philippines, China trade accusations over sea threats

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines accused China of aggressive maneuvers against its reconnaissance plane and fishermen in disputed seas where Beijing has stepped up construction of artificial islands, but China reiterated its claim on the strategic waterways. …

  • Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others
    Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others

    Indonesia has ordered preparations for the execution of 10 drug convicts, including Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, as the Philippine government filed yesterday a second appeal for judicial review of the case to save the maid from death by firing squad. The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) of Indonesia released an official letter dated April 23, instructing prosecutors to prepare for the execution of 10 convicts, the Jakarta Post reported yesterday. The execution would be conducted after the …

  • Business groups back K to 12 program
    Business groups back K to 12 program

    The government’s K to 12 program adding two more years to basic education received support from various business groups yesterday. However, they urged relevant government agencies to deal with issues regarding the implementation of Republic Act 10533, the Enhanced Basic Education Act or K-12 Law. In a statement, business groups led by the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) said RA 10533 is a milestone piece of legislation that intends to bring the Philippines up to par with the rest of …

  • Happiest nations: Phl ranks 90th
    Happiest nations: Phl ranks 90th

    Switzerland is the happiest country in the world, while the Philippines placed 90th, according to a global ranking of happiness unveiled in New York on Thursday. Switzerland was followed closely by Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada. The 2015 World Happiness Report is the third annual report seeking to quantify happiness as a means of influencing government policy. The United Nations published the first study in 2012. …

  • Asean leaders want binding sea code with China
    Asean leaders want binding sea code with China

    Southeast Asian leaders will seek to speed up plans for a binding code of conduct with China governing behavior in the disputed South China Sea at a summit next week, Malaysia’s foreign minister said Friday. Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said a massive flow of Muslim Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to neighboring countries will also be discussed at the two-day summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which starts Monday. Anifah said leaders are expected to raise concerns …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options