6 other foreigners held captive by Abu Sayyaf
MANILA, Philippines - Aside from Jordanian journalist Baker Atyani and his 2 Filipino cameramen Ramelito Vela and Rolan Letriro, 6 other foreigners are currently being held captive by members of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group.
Two of the other kidnap victims are Elword Horn and Lorenzo Vinciguera, bird watchers from Europe who were abducted in February.
A source from the military intelligence community said Abu Sayyaf members are present in the entire western Mindanao region.
However, it is possible that all of the victims are being held in just one area in Sulu, the source added.
Another source from the military said Atyani and his Filipino companions are being held by Abu Sayyaf commander Tuan Nadzmer Alih.
Alih, who is believed to be a bomb expert, is allegedly asking ransom for the journalists.
The Jordanian Foreign Ministry earlier said Atyani and his companions were kidnapped.
The official stand of the military, meanwhile, refused to confirm this.
Col. Jose Johriel Cenabre, deputy commander for Marines operations of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, said the 3 journalists are moving around Sulu and are "acccompanied" by Abu Sayyaf terrorists.
"They are still missing. We are still waiting when they'll complete their business. They are moving around Sulu. It's irresponsible on our (side) to release any statement (confirming Jordan's pronouncement) when we do not have all the indicators that they are being (held) against their will," he said Friday.
Atyani, Vela and Letriro went missing on June 12.
"We cannot confirm that they are kidnapped but for sure, they are with any group of the Abu Sayyaf or even with any armed group. According to our intel and information and witnesses, they are roaming around," Cenabre said.
He said government troops are continuing their efforts to secure the 3 missing journalists.
"We are doing something on the ground. That's why we know where they are but we cannot again divulge their particular location for the safety of the 2 journalists," he said. - with a report from Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News