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Sulu gov threatens to have Atyani arrested, deported

/ 12:39 PM June 22, 2012

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan said he will have Jordanian TV journalist Baker Abdulla Atyani arrested and deported when he emerges from the Abu Sayyaf lair.

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Tan told the Inquirer that Atyani did not respect local authorities and has to be sent out of the country.

“I will have him arrested. I will have him investigated for promoting these criminals and then we will deport him,” he said on Thursday.

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Tan accused Atyani of breaking the peace in Sulu.

“That was wrong for him to do,” he said.

Tan said that while he accepted an offer from the Moro National Liberation Front to help locate Atyani, he would not be bothered at all if the journalist could not be found.

Jordanian journalist Baker Atyani. AP

“We are not really giving much attention to that. We have many things to attend to than try to find a person who is hiding,” he said.

He also faulted Rolando Letrero and Ramelito Vela, Atyani’s cameraman and soundman, “because they agreed to go with that fool.”

“That’s their fault,” he said.

At the same time, Tan said Atyani’s news agency, Al Arabiya, and family never called up to inquire what happened to the Jordanian.

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Peace advocate and former Abu Sayyaf kidnap victim Prof. Octavio Dinampo said the information he got from his sources indicated that the Abu Sayyaf has decided to keep the three hostages in exchange for money.

He said the information he got was that the Abu Sayyaf wants P50 million for the three men and that the demand had been relayed to the Jordanian’s family.

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

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

“When we were kidnapped by this same group, Ces was forced to give the number whom to relay the demand to. Baker was allegedly requested to do the same,” he said.

But Lt. Col. Noel Coballes, commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said there has been no official confirmation the Jordanian and his crew had been kidnapped.

He said the three men were just pursuing a story.

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