Al Arabiya’s Baker Atyani ready to leave the Philippines

Baker Atyani said he was not abused by his Abu Sayyaf captors while spending 18 months in captivity

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Al Arabiya News Channel correspondent Baker Atyani is ready to leave the Philippines after spending 18 months in captivity by armed militants in Sulu.

Atyani arrived on Friday to Manila where he had received medical examination.


Despite his weak appearance, having lost a third of his body weight while being held in the jungles of the strife-torn island of Jolo, the Jordanian journalist appeared to be speaking concisely during a press conference.

Atyani said he had escaped from his Abu Sayyaf captors last week and that he was not abused by the militant group.

In an interview with a television network, shortly after being flown to Manila, Atyani said his main priorities now would be “to see my loved ones, to go back to this life and one of the main projects I want to focus on is the book I am writing... on my coverage of the hotspots”.

“I will add this experience and I hope this will be a good (addition) to this book,” he said.

Atyani said he “definitely” planned to return to the Philippines, saying “it’s a beautiful place (with) beautiful people.”

Atyani, a veteran Middle Eastern TV reporter who had interviewed Osama bin Laden months before the Sept. 11 attacks, arrived in Manila on June 5, 2012 to shoot a documentary film on Muslims in the south of the Philippines.

Seven days later, he was kidnaped by armed Abu Sayyaf militants and had been held in captivity until he was released last Wednesday.

The Jordanian will undergo a debriefing and more medical tests but could fly home as early as Saturday, said Senior Superintendent Renato Gumban, head of a special police anti-kidnapping unit, according to Agence France-Presse.

“He was not physically abused. It’s just that his food was rice and fish so he lost a lot of weight,” Gumban added.

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