Journalists taken hostage by Abu Sayyaf - Robredo

Posted at 06/23/12 10:35 PM

MANILA, Philippines - A Jordanian journalist and his 2 Filipino cameramen have been taken hostage by Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Sulu, Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said Sunday.

Baker Atyani and his 2 Filipino cameramen, Ramelito Vela and Rolan Letriro, were not kidnapped but are now being held hostage, Robredo told radio dzMM reporter Robert Mano.

"They are now being held against their will," he said.

"While they remain unharmed and not threatened, they are now being prevented from leaving," he added.

Robredo said the victims made their last contact with their colleagues on Friday.

"Info is that all of them knew they were to do an interview with (an) ASG leader," he said.

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry earlier said Atyani and his companions were kidnapped.

Atyani, who works for the Al Arabiya news network, travelled to Sulu to interview an alleged new leader of the ASG, Commander Tuan Nadzmir Alih.

Atyani is widely known for having interviewed the late Al Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden, in Afghanistan months before the September 11 terror attacks in the United States.

The Palace, the military, and the police earlier expressed doubts that he and his companions were kidnapped after they went missing on June 12.

Philippine National Police-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao regional director Mario Avenido said information they gathered revealed that the 3 were at an Abu Sayyaf camp to do interviews.

“They can eat, they can roam around, they are not physically deprived," he said.

However, their situation has now apparently taken a turn for the worse.