Al Arabiya's Baker Atyani freed in the Philippines

Rebecca Hawkes | 04-12-2013

Al Arabiya News Channel correspondent Baker Atyani has been freed after 18 months in captivity, following his kidnap by Philippine militia in June 2012.

Palestinian Atyani was being held on the island province of Sulu in the Mindanao region of the Philippines, the MBC-owned Arabic news channel announced on 4 December 2013.

Atyani, Al Arabiya's chief correspondent for Pakistan, Afghanistan and Southeast Asia, arrived in Manila on 5 June 2012 to prepare a documentary about the plight of Muslims in the southern Philippines. Atyani went missing on 12 June 2012 on Jolo Island, which is notorious for bomb attacks and kidnappings.

"There will be more details released later, but for now there is an overwhelming feeling of joy and relief that our colleague Baker will finally be re-joining his family and re-joining us," said a statement from Al Arabiya News Channel.

Atyani has been admitted to a local hospital for medical checks prior to returning to his family in Jordan, the broadcaster added.

MBC has extended thanks to state and international institutions, Islamic diplomatic corps and the Philippine authorities for their efforts in securing Atyani's freedom.