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21 killed after Islamists kidnap Journalist in the Philippines

By Mason White 4:02 PM February 4, 2013
Victims crying in the Philippines 

By: Shifra Unger
An attempt to rescue a kidnapped journalist went horribly wrong, killing many people, according to police reports in the Philippines.

Twenty-one people have been killed in the Philippines during an apparent failed attempt to rescue a Jordanian journalist kidnapped by Islamist rebels eight months ago, the Philippine security authorities, said on Monday.

The members of the Moro National Liberation Front or MNLF, a group of former Muslim rebels who have made peace with the government, attacked strongholds of Abu Sayyaf on Jolo Island in attempt to free Jordanian Baker Atyani, Antonio Freyra, a police chief in the area, said.

Atyani, a journalist working for Al Arabiya, and two Filipino television crew members were captured in June, while reporting in the area.

“Based on our information, the FMLN lost eight members and Abu Sayyaf suffered 13 casualties,” he told news reporters.
“We have no information on the fate of the Jordanian journalist,” he said.

Atyani’s two Filipino colleagues were released on Saturday. Authorities said they could not say whether a ransom was paid for them.
An army spokesperson, Colonel Arnulfo Burgos said the military was not involved in the rescue attempt, but sent troops to help evacuate residents who fled the area and to prevent the clashes from spreading.

About 60 families in the area were temporarily relocated because of the fighting, he said.
Jolo Island in the southern Philippines is a stronghold of Abu Sayyaf rebels, who are known for kidnapping and sometimes killing captives.