(MENAFN Press) 18 months of efforts succeeded at liberating Al-Arabiya News channel correspondent and Islamabad bureau chief Baker Atyani, after he spent around 550 days in the captivity of armed groups in the island of Sulu in the Philippines province of Mindanao.
An authorized source from Al Arabiya News channel said that the abductors, which are affiliated with "Abu Sayyaf" group, released colleague Baker Atyani at 13:30 GMT, 9:30 p.m. Philippines time, on December 4, 2013. The kidnappers handed Atyani over to representatives of the Patikul municipality in the island, and in turn he was handed over to local authorities and the governor's office, where the Philippine authorities will bear their responsibility of securing his return to his family in Jordan, as soon as possible.
The authorized source further clarified that Atyani, who was abducted on June 12, 2012, is suffering from diseases as a result of captivity amidst difficult circumstances, adding that he was released thanks to local, regional and international efforts. Atyani was transferred to a local hospital for medical check-up immediately after his release. Meanwhile, Philippines authorities are finalizing measures of his return home to his family.
MBC Group Chairman Walid bin Ibrahim al-Ibrahim congratulated Atyani's family and colleagues for the safe release of Atyani.
Atyani was released following laudable efforts made by Al-Azhar, Jerusalem mufti, the Palestinian Scholars Council and the Mindanao's Association of Muslim Scholars. Efforts were also made by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation upon orders from its secretary general Ekmeleddin hsanolu and by several Arab and international diplomatic committees, including Palestinian ones upon orders from Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. These efforts were in sync with MBC Group's and Al-Arabiya's daily follow-up, as well as the continuous cooperation and patience of Atyani's family.
Baker Atyani, an expert in covering Pakistan, Afghanistan and southeast Asia, arrived to Philippine's capital, Manila, on June 5, 2012 to work on a documentary on the situation of Muslims south of Philippine. He was abducted on June 12 of the same year and released today.
Finally, Al-Arabiya News channel would like to thank all parties and individuals who did not spare any effort towards ending Atyani's ordeal.