Philippine troops search for missing Al Arabiya TV crew
MANILA TROOPS were searching for a missing Jordanian reporter for Dubai-based Al Arabiya news network and his two Filipino crew in the southern Philippines, the military said on Tuesday.
Baker Atyani, 43, the network’s South-East Asia bureau chief, and Filipinos Ramil Vela and Roland Letricio, have been missing since June 12 on Jolo island, 1,000 kilometres south of Manila.
Troops were investigating reports that the three men had met Al Qaeda-linked Muslim Abu Sayyaf rebels to interview them for a documentary, said Colonel Jose Johriel Cenabre, a marine deputy commander.
“We are trying to locate them and determine what exactly they aredoing,” he said. Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said one of the Filipinos hadcalled his family and employer in Manila and said they were well, but the secretary did not provide further details.” They are not under duress,” he said. “They appear to be free togo anytime.” The Al Arabiya network reportedly has not been in contact withAtyani for the past week. Abu Sayyaf rebels are known to kidnap foreign hostages for ransom. They have also been blamed for deadly terrorist attacks in thePhilippines.