first_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Associated PressMANILA, Philippines (AP) – A veteran Middle Eastern TV reporter who had interviewed Osama bin Laden months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has disappeared with four other people on a restive southern Philippine island where Muslim militants are active, officials said Friday.Baker Atyani, Al-Arabiya’s TV bureau chief for Southeast Asia, has not contacted authorities since Tuesday, when he was last seen on Jolo Island while on a reporting trip, said Sulu provincial police chief Antonio Freyra. The militants on Jolo are holding two Europeans and a Japanese. There are conflicting reports whether an Indian hostage has died in captivity.Atyani, a 43-year-old Jordanian based in Jakarta, Indonesia, was working for the Arabic satellite channel Middle East Broadcasting Corp. in June 2001 when he met bin Laden and his aides in Afghanistan and said they told him that the coming weeks would hold “important surprises that will target American and Israeli interests in the world.”He later moved to Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV as its Asia bureau chief.Amin expressed fear for the journalists’ safety even though Atyani was an experienced reporter.“Well, he doesn’t know what he got into this time. These gunmen are bandits and drug addicts. They can enter but it’s uncertain if they can exit,” Amin said.Abu Sayyaf militants have launched more attacks in the last four years despite U.S.-backed offensives on Jolo and neighboring islands. Authorities have failed to cut off a flow of money, food and weapons to the terrorists, the Philippine military said in a recent report.The Abu Sayyaf is a more radical offshoot of a Muslim rebellion that has been raging in the predominantly Catholic nation’s south for decades. The violence is fueled by abject poverty, corruption and proliferation of weapons. ___Associated Press writers Hrvoje Hranjski and Oliver Teves contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Sponsored Stories last_img

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