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Jordanian journalist, 2 Pinoy crewmen, seen alive on video

/ 01:41 AM July 24, 2012

ZAMBOANGA CITY—Jordanian journalist Baker Abdulla Atyani and his two Filipino companions—Ramelito Vela and Rolando Letrero—remain alive at the Abu Sayyaf lair in Sulu, where they were being held since June 12, sources said Monday.

In fact, a video showing the foreign journalist was sent out by the bandit group.

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Rommel Banlaoi, executive director of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR), said a video he saw over the weekend, which he described as very short, shows Atyani talking to an unidentified man.

He said the Jordanian appeared thin.

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“I had a chance to see the video footage, it was very short and he was just talking to someone about the history of Muslims in the Philippines. But I don’t know the exact date the video was taken,” Banlaoi said.

A government source, who requested anonymity for lack of authority to speak on the matter, said Atyani’s video was taken last month and was given to authorities. He would not identify the source of the video or to whom it was handed.

But police authorities said they have not seen the video. “So far, we haven’t seen any video related to Atyani,” Chief Supt. Mario Avenido, chief of police of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said.

“We still have to verify that report,” said Chief Supt. Manuel Barcena, head of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations (Dipo) in Western Mindanao.

Dipo Western Mindanao handles all kidnapping cases in Mindanao.

Prof. Octavio Dinampo, coordinator of the Bantay Ceasefire in Sulu, said his sources had reported that Atyani and the two Filipinos were supposed to have been freed before July 21.

However, the ransom courier was having a hard time reaching the lair of Nadzmer Alih, the Abu Sayyaf leader holding the three men, because of intelligence persons tailing him.

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“The courier was now trying to dictate the place of the drop point,” he said.

Some reports said the bandits were asking P50 million for Atyani’s freedom but these have not been verified. Julie S. Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao

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