MANILA, Philippines – A Jordanian journalist has identified the leader of an al-Qaida-linked terrorist group that held him for a year and a half in the jungles of the southern Philippines after luring him with a promise of an interview.
TV journalist Baker Atyani said Abu Sayyaf commander Jul Asman Sawadjaan plotted his kidnapping in June last year with the help of his fighters and civilians in Sulu province. The Abu Sayyaf has carved a brutal image for beheadings, bombings and ransom kidnappings.
Sulu military commander Col. Jose Cenabre said that Atyani either was freed or escaped from his Abu Sayyaf captors late Wednesday.
Cenabre said Thursday that Atyani told him he did not see several other Abu Sayyaf hostages during his captivity, including two Europeans who were seized last year.