MANILA, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government, following a long-captive Jordanian journalist recently escaped from Abu Sayyaf group, assured Saturday that it is determined to free some 17 people believed to be still in the hands of the al-Qaeda-linked group.
Philippine Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) did not stop in pursuing the bandit group which perpetrated a number of high-profile kidnapping cases.
"The government through its agencies led by the AFP is determined to ensure the captives' freedom," he said in an interview over a state-run radio station.
Earlier this week, Jordanian journalist Baker Atyani managed to escape from the Abu Sayyaf members after 18 months in captivity in southern Philippine province of Sulu.
Atyani was kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf members in June 2012 along with his two Filipino crew members in Sulu, but the two Filipinos regained their freedom much earlier than him.
The Abu Sayyaf was founded in earlier 1990s by Islamic extremists and has degenerated into a loose alliance of local armed bandit groups in Sulu and Basilan islands over the past decade, carrying out a series of public terrorist attacks and high- profile kidnapping for ransom cases.
Kidnapped Jordanian journalist freed in S. Philippines
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Kidnapped Jordanian television journalist Baker Atyani was released by al- Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf terrorist group after one and a half years in captivity in southern Philippine province of Sulu Wednesday night, local security official said Thursday.
Police recovered Baker Atayani at the Igasan village in the township of Patikul, a known haven of the Abu Sayyaf group, said Jose Jhoriel Cenabre, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu. Full story