News24

TV crew missing on Philippine island

2012-06-15 10:03

Manila - A three-man news team for the Dubai-based Al Arabiya network, including a Jordanian man, are missing on a remote Philippine island notorious for Islamist militants and kidnappings, police said on Friday.

Baker Atyani and his two Filipino crew failed to return to their hotel on Jolo Island on Tuesday, provincial police chief Antonio Freyra said.

"The Jolo mayor offered to provide security for them, but they declined, saying they would not go far from their hotel," Senior Superintendent Freyra said by telephone.

Local authorities searched their rooms in Jolo town centre after the hotel owner reported to police that they failed to return in the evening, he said.

The crew had arrived in Jolo by aircraft on Monday and told the authorities they were there to shoot a television documentary for Al Arabiya, Freyra said.

Jolo is a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, a small Islamic militant movement that has been blamed for most of the country's worst terrorist attacks as well as kidnappings of foreigners.

Freyra said there was no information yet as to whether they had been kidnapped, but said foreigners who ventured to the far southern island were targets for the Abu Sayyaf and other groups involved in abductions.

"If Americans or other foreigners come here it is natural for us to offer them security.... We all know that we still have a kidnapping problem here," he said.