MANILA, Philippines – Abu Sayyaf militants have kidnapped a three-man news team of the Dubai-based Al Arabiya television network in Sulu, security officials bared yesterday.
Jordanian journalist Baker Atyani and his two Filipino cameramen Ramelito Vela and Roland Letrico were initially reported as missing by local police following their failure to return to their hotel in Jolo on Tuesday.
Ground security sources, however, revealed the three are now being held by the group of Yasser Igasan, spiritual leader and overall leader of the Abu Sayyaf in the troubled island province.
Sulu is a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, who were reported to be also holding six foreign nationals, including a Swede and a Dutch, who were forcibly taken by armed men in Tawi-Tawi early this year.
There were reports the kidnappers are now demanding P50 million in ransom for the Jordanian journalist and his Filipino crew.
Baker Atyani, a veteran Middle Eastern TV reporter who had interviewed Osama bin Laden months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.