From Al-Arabiaya (Jan 10): Video: Al Arabiya’s Baker Atyani tells story of his kidnap ordeal
[Video: Panorama -- Al Arabiaya's tells story of kidap ordeal
Al Arabiya’s veteran correspondent Baker Atyani who was kidnapped and held by Filipino Islamist rebels for 18 months vowed on Thursday to continue chasing the truth without fear.
“I was on a journalistic mission and I do not regret it. It was a tragic and a painful experience, but it gave me more strength and faith to deliver the truth to people,” Atyani said in a program aired on Al Arabiya News Channel Thursday.
Atyani, a Jordanian journalist who interviewed Osama bin Laden months before the Sept. 11 attacks, had travelled to Manila on June 5, 2012 to shoot two documentary films, including one on the living conditions of Muslims in the south of the Philippines.
After his kidnap he was held in the Sulu Islands in the Philippine province of Mindanao. On Dec. 4, 2013 Atyani became free after he managed escape from his captors.
Appearing on Al Arabiya’s Panorama program Thursday, Atyani recounted his dreadful experience.
“Abu Sayyef groups have no ties to the religion of Islam and its values. They resemble a gang - an organized crime group, kind of a mafia that relies on kidnapping foreigners to demand ransoms,” Atyani said.
Most members are illiterate, speak their native language only, and seem to be isolated from the outside world, he added.
"They live in forests and they lack awareness when it comes to the world around them. One member was surprised when I once told him we are approaching year 2013. He replied saying, aren’t we in 2007?"
Atyani said the militants are using Islam as an umbrella to commit crimes and kidnap people, regardless of their religion.
“They lacked the basic understanding of Islamic values, which idealize humanity and humility,” he said.
Life under abduction
Atyani said his kidnappers did not physically abuse him the psychological harm was major.
He said he tried to escape more than once, but was placed in a small hut in solitary confinement for three months.
Many local residents he said are forced to show loyalty and obey Abu Sayyaf in exchange for protection.
To watch the full interview, please click here
Towards this end, this Community is committed to ensuring an ASEAN region living in a peaceful, democratic, and harmonious environment.
Guided by the Blueprint of the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), it strives to be a rules-based community of shared norms and values. In addition, it binds the member-states to share in the responsibility for comprehensive security in the realization of a cohesive and stable region in light of the continued dynamism of the world at large.
Thus, the existence of regional security dialogue fora such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Defense Minister Meeting (ADMM), among others, are clear manifestations that the body gives importance to the need for peace and security in the region.
It is said that any member state which does not succeed to secure its boundaries will not be admitted to full membership in the AEC. Surely, this is one of the reasons why Burma (Myanmar) is striving to heal the serious rift amongst its people and is getting more and more democratic in approaches in governance after decades of brutal military dictatorship. No less than General Thein Sein, Myanmar’s Prime Minister, signed the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint, alongside all ASEAN heads of states, in Singapore in 2007.
For the Philippines, without solving the multiple internal security threats especially the Moro-led rebellion in Mindanao, which used to be the longest conflict in the world, after Sudan before the signing of the Machakos Agreement with South Sudan in 2002, its membership in AEC will be held on hold. As a consequence, this country would be left behind in terms of progress and development. The threat of being clamped as a failed state will continue to hang in the balance.
This is why the current GPH-MILF peace negotiation has to succeed. It is like shooting many birds with one stone. One, the threat of China is real; it is not only in the mind. Even if China does not invade and occupy this country, but mere military occupation of the disputed various islands in the China Sea (or South Philippines Sea) is already a nightmare. Two, the mother of all poverty is war. It will bring down both this country and the Moro areas --- and will have far-reaching adverse consequence in non-Moro communities. Third, the war in Mindanao is virtually stalemated: The government cannot defeat the MILF in protracted guerrilla warfare and the MILF’s inability to lick the government in massive conventional confrontation. Above all, the peaceful resolution of conflict is not only morally sound, but economical as well. It is the best legacy that President Benigno Aquino III can bequeath to the next generations of Filipinos and Moros in this country.